By Edward Chaykovsky
Heavyweight contender Joseph Parker admits he apologized for an illegal punch that landed on Alexander Dimitrenko last Saturday night.
Dimitrenko was the tallest opponent of Parker's career. The undefeated New Zealand puncher had few issues in the fight and was dominating the one-sided contest before it was over.
The end came in the third round, when Parker (21-0, 18KOs) had Dimitrenko in trouble and put him down, but Parker didn't realize that Dimitrenko had a knee on the mat and hit him with a hook to the body. Dimitrenko fell to the floor, rolling around in what appeared to be severe pain. But many felt the Ukrainian boxer was rolling the dice to get Parker disqualified. That didn't happen. Instead Dimitrenko was counted out.
After the fight was over, Parker apologized to Dimitrenko and let him know that there wasn't any intention to hit him illegally.
"I said, 'I'm sorry, I'm not a dirty fighter, I didn't know you had a knee on the canvas', but he said 'why, why would you do that?' I was disappointed. I wanted to finish it in the right fashion. When you're in the zone you're in there to win, but if I could take it back I would," Parker told The New Zealand Herald.
Parker is now looking ahead. He plans to arrive in Las Vegas on Sunday, where he will start his training camp for a potential fight with Andy Ruiz on December 10 in New Zealand. Their bout could potentially have the WBO world title at stake - if troubled heavyweight Tyson Fury is stripped.
"I've been keeping in shape. I've been on three runs since the fight and have been doing some weights," Parker said. "I don't want to get too loose. With the big fights I could have coming up I'm excited about getting into training again.
"The hardest part of the last fight was all the training and sparring I did before it. That is always the case. The fight is the fun part. In training for Dimitrenko I did 93 rounds of sparring over eight weeks, and it was some of the best sparring I have done. The camp was perfect for me."