By Duncan Johnstone
New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker is relishing "fighting like a small man" as he looks to get past massive Russian Alexander Dimitrenko to keep his world title dream alive.
The size of the assignment in front of Parker was there for all to see on Friday when the official weigh-in was held at the Manukau Events Centre, the venue for Saturday night's fight.
Parker will give away over six kilograms to Dimitrenko. Parker tipped the scales at 109kg [240.4-pounds] while Dimitrenko weighed 115.15kg [253.86-pounds]. Dimitrenko will also have an 8cm height advantage and an 18cm reach advantage.
Dimitrenko has been selected because of his physical attributes as Parker looks to tangle with bigger fighters for the world titles.
He's pumped for the challenge.
"My plan going into ths fight is to fight like a small man," Parker smiled. "I'm smaller than he is. Usually I go out there and fight like a big man because I've usually been taller than my previous opponents.
"I'm going to go out there and box him and use the speed that I have, the movement that I have and we have also developed head movement and a better defence.
"Power and speed ... I'm going out there to display the strengths that I have and I believe that if I do these things I will get the victory."
Parker admitted Dimitrenko, appearing to be in fine physical shape, "looks prepared".
"I have to be wary of his power and him trying to pull me in, grab me and put his weight on me and draining my energy. But I'm looking forward to breaking him down," Parker said.
Parker is a couple of kilograms heaver than his usual fight weight. But he's comfortable. The gain was part of a dedicated weights programme that came at the expense of some conditioning, an area he maintains because of his busy schedule.
He said the programme had helped him overcome a few "little niggles and injuries" and was also planned to try to counter Dimitrenko's massive frame.
"He's a big guy with a lot of muscle and a lot of power. As a heavyweight I'm still quite small."
Parker has one of his regional titles on the line – the WBO Oriental belt – but the stakes are much higher.
A loss would be disastrous, seeing the Kiwi stripped of his mandatory position for the coveted IBF belt held by Anthony Joshua and also damaging his No 1 ranking in the WBO where he his perfectly positioned to exploit any penalties imposed on struggling champ Tyson Fury who has pulled out of his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko for a second time and is expected to lose both his world belts.
Parker reiterated that his focus was solely on Dimitrenko when he was asked about the external pressures hovering around him.
And he wasn't worried about the pressures inside the ring in countering Dimitrenko's size.
"I think if you put pressure on yourself, there will be pressure. I feel quite relaxed and the reason I say I'm always relaxed is because I train hard. If you train hard and feel good, you are going to perform good.
"This is the time to enjoy. When you are in the ring it's time to enjoy yourself but also do the job."
Dimitrenko backed his physical advantages and experience to get the result.
"I am ready to win this fight," Dimitrenko said. "I am ready to give my best. I am ready to die in the ring."
Parker's reply was: "He's ready. I'm ready. Let's get it on."