JOSEPH PARKER kept himself in pole position to challenge IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, beating Alexander Dimitrenko in three rounds, even though he ended it was a bizarre stoppage.

Parker attacked the six foot seven Russian’s body and bundled him off his feet in the first round for a knockdown. The New Zealander easily knocked Dimitrenko down in the second round. Joseph was far smaller but got to grips with his opponent swiftly, bypassing the Russian’s jab easily enough although he did allow a few countering rights through. None of it troubled Parker and he was strong enough to manhandle Dimitrenko.

The curious ending came in the third round. In a clinch Parker clubbed a right to Dimitrenko’s body. The Russian slumped to a knee. Parker cuffed his right into Alexander’s side again. Dimitrenko twisted down to the canvas, writhing there as the referee, Marlon Wright counted him out at 1-38 of the third.

Parker remains Anthony Joshua’s mandatory challenger and could fight the Briton on November 26 at the Manchester Arena. That however remains unconfirmed as Joshua’s team explore the option of boxing former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on that same date.