1 Oct 2016

Parker told to start hard

4:47 pm on 1 October 2016

New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker has to come out firing in tonight's heavyweight bout with Russian giant Alexander Dimitrenko, according to Parker's trainer Kevin Barry.

Joseph Park at the weigh-in for his upcoming fight.

Joseph Park at the weigh-in for his upcoming fight. Photo: Photosport

The Russian boasts a record of 38 wins and two losses and with Parker's mandatory challenge for the IBF World title on the line, Barry wants Parker to set the pace.

"I don't want Joe to just cruise through the first two or three rounds and let Dimitrenko get comfortable," said Barry.

"We need to put something hard on him right from the outset."

RNZ's Leilani Momoisea will run a live blog of the fight night from 8pm.

Parker said he was back to his best ahead of tonight's fight and could replicate what he called his last truly great performance against Brazilian Iri-neu Costa almost two years ago.

Undefeated in his 21 professional fights and with the pressure of his upcoming fight for the IBF World title against Anthony Joshua bearing down on him, Parker said he had refound his spark.

Alexander Dimitrenko.

Alexander Dimitrenko. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"We see there's excitement in camp and in training in what we're doing," he said.

"I feel like we're going to see that spark again come fight night. There's a lot more focus, there's a lot more power and combinations and we've come up with a greta game-plan to approach this one."

Joseph Parker will not be the only member of his family to step into the ring in Auckland.

The 24 year old's younger brother John will make his professional debut in the undercard in the catchweight division against 27-year-old Ratu Dawai from Christchurch.

John and Joseph Parker.

John and Joseph Parker. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The older Parker said John was a real talent when he was an amateur and was a national champion in the light and middleweight division.

"If I had to compare him to someone it would be like a little Mike Tyson - he just went there for the kill.

"When the bell rang it was just like he held his breath for three minutes and he would just throw all his punches and when the bell rang again he would and start breathing again. That's how exciting he was."