Belfast Telegraph

Boxer Hynes fighting back from savage knife attack in Belfast

By Claire Williamson

It was an horrific attack that still gives him nightmares, but after months of recovery, rising boxing star Caoimhin Hynes is coming out fighting and about to get back in the ring.

The 20-year-old is lucky to be alive after he suffered a horror slash to his face in an assault by a gang in Belfast.

Messages of support poured in for the boxer from around the world, from famous names such as ring announcer Michael Buffer and former world champion boxer Tyson Fury.

Caoimhin had just returned from winning gold in Paris at the Montana Belts tournament and was well on track for the Commonwealth Games next year when his life was turned upside down on a night out in May.

An attack at the end of a night out in Belfast with his girlfriend landed him in hospital covered in blood with a huge gash in his cheek awaiting surgery.

It happened following an altercation when the couple went to McDonald's in the city centre.

A 24-year-old man was arrested in June over the attack and released pending a report to the PPS.

The middleweight boxer, who fights out of Holy Trinity Boxing Club in Belfast, found himself on a long road to recovery and said he lost count as he tried to tally up the number of his stitches following the attack.

It sparked a gruelling recovery process for the boxer who was determined to get back on track to make it to the Commonwealth Games next year.

Now, just days before he gets back in the ring for the first time since the attack, Caoimhin told the Belfast Telegraph of how difficult his physical recovery was and how it also took its toll mentally.

He said: "I'm all good now and fully recovered physically. I've just been training away for the last couple of weeks and going to Barcelona to fight in a competition next week.

"It was tough not being able to train for 6-8 weeks, and then the mental side of it and not being able to go into town and not being able to work and things - it has been tough.

He continued: "I missed it (boxing) a lot, anyone that knows me knows it's all I do. I train 24/7 and it was hard not being able to train.

"I tried to go back earlier than I should have and it put me out for even longer because I just wasn't ready to go back and so I had to stay out for a while."

Caoimhin revealed that he is still haunted by the attack and avoided going in to town whenever possible after the incident happened.

He said: "I get flashbacks and bad dreams and nightmares about it, but there is not much you can do about it."

But the boxer is trying to put that to the back of his mind as he focuses on Thursday's bout in Barcelona.

He said: "I'm happy to be back training, it was so hard being out for so long and not being able to train.

"It was tough going back at the start because I was out for so long and didn't feel myself and didn't feel like I had ever boxed before. It's good to be back and I'm excited."

He said he was grateful for the hundreds of messages of support he received and added that they played a "big part" in his recovery.

"There were a lot of people showing their support, some from around the world who I didn't know, people that you look up to. It played a big part in helping me and motivating me to get back in the gym. It means a lot. I'm back on track to where I was and hopefully I can go to Barcelona and get a good performance and qualify for the Commonwealth Games."

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