UFC Featherweight World Champion Alex Volkanovski may be on an island in another part of the world preparing for his rematch with Max Holloway on Sunday but this week he has still managed to stay close to his family.
Emma Volkanovski said her husband was a great dad who is still in regular contact with her and their two children Ariana, 5, and Airlie, 3.
"Alex is staying on our time zone because they have to fight at such an early time in the morning over there," she said.
"He is up early when we are so I will text him and he'll text back. And then he will Facetime with the kids. He misses them. We chat every day.
"He is very involved and family oriented. He was front row at their pre-school dance concert last year. He is just a regular dad."
Alex left for Fight Island, Abu Dhabi a week ago and will fly back on Monday after the fight.
But he will need to quarantine in a hotel in Sydney for two weeks before he can give Emma and his two daughters a big hug. So there will be lots of Facetime between now and July 27.
Emma said it has been a different seven months for the family since her husband's last fight in December.
They actually got to spend Christmas together without any interruptions and work with Courtney Beaton on the new Alexander The Great children's book with pre-orders recently taken online.
"Alex knew the message he wanted to get out and Courtney helped us do that," Emma said.
"Alex just wants the girls to grow up to be good people and he tried to portray that in the book.
"The story is about working hard and always trying to do the right thing. Everything he wants for his girls he wants for everyone else as well."
Emma said she was proud of her husband using his profile to share something so positive. She said he was making an impact in many ways.
"Even though the book is about becoming World Champion the underlying message is for everyone," she said.
"It is not just for those interested in mixed martial arts."
Ariana presently goes to a day care centre which is actively involved in a colouring competition where the winner gets a signed copy of the book.
The children have also been making signs of support for Illawarra's World Champion on Sunday.
"They are all really cute," Emma said.
Alex just wants the girls to grow up to be good people and he tried to portray that in the book. The story is about working hard and always trying to do the right thing. Everything he wants for his girls he wants for everyone else as wellEmma Volkanovski
The lead up to Sunday's fight has not the same as any previous bouts.
But Emma said her husband is a true professional who has just calmly taken it all in his stride. Which is one of the reasons she is confident he will do well.
"Everything has been different this time," she said.
"We had a good Christmas because the one before he was not here. He was fighting Chad Mendes then".
After winning the title in December the plan was to fight in Perth in June but when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world it left the fighting world in limbo.
And that was a challenge in itself in terms of training schedules.
But Emma said her husband was a special kind of athlete and person who is still able to train and prepare mentally for the unknown.
"I like to think I was able to help him through that but he has always been able to stay positive and adapt to any situation put in front of him," she said.
"We have loved having him here. When gyms had to close he was able to be home for dinner, bath and bed time.
"Normally he would get home after the kids have gone to bed so an extra pair of hands was great.
"And we did a lot of things together as a family.
"We did a lot of bike riding during the isolation period. We bought one of those trailers the kids can sit in and attaches to the back of the bike.
"It was really nice to have him here. It was the longest I have had him home in years".
Emma said because they saw their dad so much during autumn they are missing him more now he is away.
But one thing has not changed.
"Whenever he goes away they wake up extra early. Especially our eldest. She has been up at 4.30 every morning since he went away," she said.
Emma said while she had travelled overseas for some previous fights COVID-19 restrictions meant this one was restricted to just coaches and staff of the UFC.
"They have their own little bubble over there," she said.
"Alex's management have taken care of all that and dealt with all the hurdles they had to overcome and just let him focus on preparing for the fight."
Emma said it was good for her husband to be able to get back into the fight routine again now that Fight Island has been created to allow international fighters to compete and provide entertainment to millions around the world eager for UFC to return.
"He didn't want to miss the chance to be part of that," she said.
On Sunday Emma will be watching the fight with a couple of her friends at home and will tell her children how he went afterwards.
Other supporters are gathering at locations such as Central Hotel at Shellharbour.
Emma is as confident as ever about her husband's chances on Sunday and is expecting another win.
"All the fights are big and each one is bigger than the last. I feel good about Sunday. Alex is confident so I am too.
"I am quite busy with the girls on my own at the moment so I don't have many spare moments to think about it or get nervous.
"But once the kids go to bed I read a few articles or jump on Twitter and see what everyone is saying and I get excited.
"I'm feeling very excited about Sunday. I will be nervous when I watch the fight. But with each fight I get better and better at watching it".
Emma said Alex always being so cool, calm and collected is definitely rubbing off on her and the kids.
"I don't know what round I am predicting but I am expecting him to win with some kind of ground and pound TKO finish."
Before she had children Emma worked in real estate at Ray White. But she is presently enjoying being a full time mum who does some admin work for her World Champion husband at the peak of his career.
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- Science Space plans a grand reopening on Thursday in time for the school holidays
- Excitement is building for the grand reopening of the new 3Sixty Indoor Skate Park few got the chance to visit before COVID-19
- Children happy as inflatable play centre reopens at Warrawong
- No ball pits but plenty of other fun activities as play centres reopen for Illawarra children in time for the school holidays
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