In getting to the point where he is standing on the brink of a world title shot at the age of 24, Joseph Parker has had to be driven and focused, but now that he is here, his promoters are taking few chances.

Parker's fight against Russian Alexander Dimitrenko in Manukau a week on Saturday is an opportunity for him to stamp his mark as a true contender ahead of his potential title fight against Anthony Joshua, which could happen as early as November, but more likely in March next year.

The New Zealander needs a good performance for his own confidence as much as anything, and in order to keep him in the best possible frame of mind, Duco Events have installed Parker's parents Sala and Dempsey in a central Auckland hotel room directly across from his.

It's for support, said Duco's Dean Lonergan, but just as important will be their guidance and ability to minimise distractions as their eldest boy's career gets set to go to a new level.


"We're trying a couple of new things for this camp... just little things like Joseph's mum and dad have been in the training camp for the whole time he's been here, just to make him feel more comfortable and relaxed," Lonergan said. "They have breakfast together in the morning and dinner at night, it's a pretty cool environment to be in if you're Joseph Parker.

"Joe arrived [from Las Vegas] on Saturday and they're staying in a room opposite. It's something a little different, and not that Joe gets psyched up or anything, he's always very calm, but it's just an environment that he's really enjoying."

For his part, Russian Dimitrenko, who faced the media in Auckland this morning, appears supremely confident.

The 34-year-old will take to the Vodafone Events Centre ring with an 8cm height advantage and with 40 professional fights behind him in comparison with Parker's 20, and he stood by his recent claims that Parker in fact lost his fight against the France-based Carlos Takam in Manukau in May, the IBF eliminator bout which earned him the right to challenge Joshua for his title.

Asked by the Herald about his comments in a recent press conference in Hamburg in which he disputed the decision, Dimitrenko replied: "You saw this fight?" When told, "Yes, I was there", he asked: "Who do you think won?"

The Herald responded: "I think Joseph won", to which Dimitrenko replied: "You have your opinion, I have my opinion. If the fight was in France then the fight would have gone to Takam."

Lonergan, meanwhile, confirmed discussions with Joshua's promotor Eddie Hearn were continuing about Parker fighting on the undercard of his next title defence in Manchester on November 26.

There remains a chance that Parker, slated to fight David Price, could step up to the main event, but both camps would prefer their men to meet in March.

Lonergan left the door open for Parker's stablemate Izu Ugonoh to fight Joshua should negotiations with Kubrat Pulev fall over. "Izu has gone into that top 15 [of the IBF] and he's available for selection. If they come back to us and said 'Izu is up now and then we'll take Joe' we'd be more than happy with that and we'll negotiate a deal."