Arsene Fosso pauses for a moment as the music dies down inside a Fortitude Valley boxing gym.
The Cameroonian heavyweight starts to nod, eyes focused on the heavy bag dangling on the other side of what resembles something more like a warehouse.
One can sense just how much he misses his wife and three kids, the family he has not seen in more than two years after fleeing the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 to seek asylum in Canberra.
But the steely determination in his eyes is why Fosso (3-0) can't go back, it's why he has to make the most of his Australian heavyweight title shot against Justis Huni (1-0) at Brisbane's Fortitude Music Hall on Thursday night.
Fosso's refusal to denounce gay athletes, who would face certain persecution if identified and returned to their home country, in the Cameroonian Commonwealth Games left him facing persecution upon his return home in 2018. So he never went home.
"I have family, I have kids, I have a wife. They're back home so it's difficult with them because I miss them," Fosso said.
"There are big troubles in Cameroon, so every day I am worried about family. It's very difficult. Before I moved to Canberra, it was pretty hard to start training because I was thinking of the problems in my head due to the trouble in Cameroon with the government.
"It was hard for training because I didn't have stability in my head. Now I keep training, because without training I can't do anything in competition. I'm positive.
"Before it was hard for me to train because it was very tough. In my head I wasn't stable. At the moment I'm trying to focus on this dream."
This dream is to rise further up the heavyweight rankings to one day land an unlikely world heavyweight title shot - unlikely only because, at 37, Fosso's window of opportunity is shrinking.
The heavyweight division - with English duo Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury seemingly on a collision course to potentially unify the major world titles - is as exciting as it has been in years.
Prodigiously talented youngster Huni is seen as a man who can one day match it with the best of them. As promoter Dean Lonergan simply puts it, "we're going to a world title and we're going quickly".
But Fosso is determined to momentarily derail the hype train with Lonergan already admitting the Huni camp can ill-afford any major hiccups as the promoter lines up the region's best heavyweights.
So how would the Cameroonian feel if he was to be that bump in the road when he meets Huni inside a boxing ring resting beneath two chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of a music hall?
"Oh man, I'm going to be very happy," Fosso said.
"This fight is going to open more opportunities for me and open up my dream to one day be a world champion.
"I'm very excited about this fight because before COVID I missed a lot of fights. This is my first opportunity to get a fight. I'm very excited about the Australian heavyweight title chance.
"Before a fight everyone is a bit nervous, you have to be nervous. You are nervous and you're excited too.
"It comes back to the gym, when you're confident to go into the ring, you feel confident and you feel nervous. I can't wait to go in."
So what happens when Fosso faces an opponent far more slick than any of the three men he has already met in the professional ranks.
Does it follow the same script and end with a knockout? Or can Fosso go the distance with a man projected as Australia's best Olympic Games boxing medal chance and a world title hopeful?
Softly-spoken Fosso is hardly one for an outlandish pre-fight prediction, but mention the prospect of finishing the bout with the right hand he dubs "the hammer" and he just smiles.
"I'm confident, I feel very good before the fight, I'm ready. I'm training hard every day. My head is focused," Fosso said.