By Bryce Wilson
Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau, South Auckland - In front of a sold out, capacity crowd in South Auckland, undefeated heavyweight Joseph Parker, squared off against giant Russian, Alexander Dimitrenko in a must-win fight in order to keep secure his mandatory spot with the IBF and number one ranking with the WBO, as the heavyweight division once again fragments with the news of Tyson Fury’s positive test for cocaine.
It was a rowdy and boisterous Auckland crowd that was treated to an exciting and explosive fight. Parker started quickly showing vastly improved head movement while throwing explosive shots to the body and putting Dimitrenko down with a sharp left hook that saw Dimitrenko barely beat the count and in survival mode for the rest of the round.
The second round saw Dimitrenko wobbled and then sent to the canvas again with a chopping right hand. He beat the count only to be put down again with another grazing right hand.
The fight came to a bizarre and disappointing end when in a clinch Parker delivered a body shot to Dimitrenko as he was falling to the canvas. Dimitrenko writhed around on the canvas from the punch, clearly checking out of the fight and later protesting the legality of the punch. The reality being that he wanted no more of what Parker was dishing up.
"That was 100 percent what we were looking for. In my opinion that was a total destruction in three rounds," said Parker's promoter Dean Lonergan. "From my point of view as a promoter that has given us the impetus to go forward and secure a world title fight as soon as we can. And on that performance, I have to say Joseph Parker is going to be one dangerous bastard going forward."
Asked which title they preferred, Lonergan replied: "That's a really good question. There's a lot to discuss over the next few days and we'll see how we go. The situation is fluid to say the least."
On the undercard Parker’s younger brother John made his pro debut, facing Ratu Dawai 2(1)-3 at a catch weight fight of 85kgs in a scheduled four rounder. Bearing a striking resemblance to his older sibling, Parker came out firing a piston-like jab that soon had Dawai back on his heels. Parker stalked Dawai around the ring, feinting nicely as the fight settled into a steady pattern in the 2nd before warming up in the 3rd with both fighters swinging for the fences.
Parker loaded up again in the 4th and final round looking to close the show with a flourish but had to settle for a majority decision after one judge had it inexplicably scored a draw.
Also on the undercard world-rated heavyweight and Joseph Parker stablemate Izu Ugonoh 16(13)-0 faced-off against the durable Frenchman Gregory Tony 21(16)-0 for the IBF Mediterranean Heavyweight title contested over 10 rounds. Ugonoh battered Tony putting him down with a sharp right hand and then ending the fight with a vicious left hook to the body. Tony leaves the fight with a suspected broken nose and broken rib, while Ugonoh now must surely be on the cusp of a step-up fight.
Parker and his team will be delighted with the night’s performance and probably marks his most complete performance in two years.