Slash attack Belfast boxer Caoimhin Hynes lost count of stitches
A rising boxing star who suffered a horror slash to his face in an assault by a gang in Belfast has said he lost count as he tallied up the number of stitches he received.
Caoimhin Hynes was attacked by a number of people while out with his girlfriend in the early hours of Monday.
The middleweight boxer fights out of Holy Trinity Boxing Club and is set to compete at the next Commonwealth Games, which his coach has said will not be hampered by the injury.
Messages of support and well-wishes have been pouring in from across the world.
Among them was Belfast champion Carl Frampton. He said: "Disgraceful and disgusting. Hope he'll be back to doing what he does best soon."
Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury also sent his best wishes. He tweeted: "Big shoutout. Get well soon pal and may God bless you."
His brother, Eoghan Junior, told the Belfast Telegraph the family is thankful he is alive as he could have died.
Caoimhin, who does not drink alcohol, was with his girlfriend at the time of the attack, which happened following an altercation when they went to McDonald's in the city centre after a night out.
The boxer had surgery on Monday afternoon and is on the road to recovery as he is set to get home on Wednesday afternoon.
He was counting the number of stitches and said he had tallied 28 before he lost count.
He posted on Facebook: "Just want to say again really thank everyone for there kind messages and concern it's been overwhelming the support I've got, not just from friends and family, but from people all over the world.
"This has been an experience I never want to have again but there's no doubt in my mind that il get over it all and be back to normal soon."
Caoimhin's family want justice and they hope the attack will raise awareness and serve as an example to ensure this does not happen to anyone else. They are also appealing for more police in the city centre at night.
Eoaghan Junior said: "We are heartbroken because we aren't used to seeing our brother or anyone around us in this condition, but I hope justice is served and the police find out who this was.
"People have been killed by this kind of crime."
The family said they were extremely emotional as they realised he is "lucky to be alive".
He said: "I've never experienced that. He's my brother, my best friend, and seeing him like that, when I'm used to seeing him happy and enjoying himself, it's not a nice feeling."
Caoimhin's trainer, Mickey Hawkins, said it was shocking to think that the boxer, who is in the "top two or three at middleweight in the country", was "inches from losing his life".
But he remained optimistic about his future, saying: "He's a good role model for all our younger boxers in the club. He'll bounce back."
Police appealed for anyone with information to ring 101.