Over the course of his time in Tamworth, Lemuel Silisia has built himself a significant fanbase.
The Solomon Islands product arrived in town an aspiring boxer with mountainous talent and a strong work ethic, but little else to his name. In the years since, he has won amateur titles and begun a pro career which has garnered him strong support both in his adopted hometown and his home country.
So, naturally, many of his supporters will have noticed when Silisia did not appear on Boxcamp's Marquee Mayhem card in Newcastle earlier this month. He had been slated to fight in his third professional bout.
"I had to go home," Silisia said.
"There were some family issues back home. My mother and the little ones are back home, and there were some personal issues [to take care of]."
The 27-year-old spent a total of three weeks back in the Solomon Islands last month, taking care of his loved ones.
After so long in Australia pursuing dreams of boxing glory, Silisia had not often gotten the chance to visit his family. He was welcomed home by his uncles, who put together a "big dinner" to celebrate his return.
The trip seems to have lit a fire within his belly.
"When I went back home, I saw their support," Silisia said.
"My family are proud, and it's really pushed me. So I've come into this year knowing I've got something to fight for. I've got people to fight for."
After missing out on his fight in Newcastle, Silisia was eager to get back in the ring.
He joked prior to the interview with the Leader that he will take on "anyone", and One2Boxing coach, Jamie Carroll, said the plan is for him to fight on the April 13 Bad Intentions 9 card in Gunnedah.
While they do not yet have an opponent confirmed, Carroll said they have gotten right back into training.
"He lost a bit of condition," he said.
"Before he went away, we were building up to fight super welterweight. He was 74 kilos and strong. He lost a lot of that weight muscle, he's back down to 69.
"But he had his first spar back last Wednesday, did six rounds with Albert Nolan and it was worth the admission fee to watch those guys going."
Silisia has spent time sparring both Nolan and Wade Ryan in recent months, and acknowledged the impact they have had on his development as a boxer.
He looks forward to fighting in Gunnedah once again, where he had his first bout as an amateur after arriving in Tamworth.
"For me, it's like my backyard," Silisia said.
"We have strong relations with Gunnedah ... a lot of our brothers from the islands, they live here and in Gunnedah. So they can come and watch [the fight]."