West Belfast boxer Caoimhin Hynes back in the ring next week - five months after being left for dead following a city centre knife attack

Boxer Caoimhin Hynes talks to the Irish News on his way back into the ring after he was attack in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell.

WEST Belfast boxer Caoimhin Hynes will be back in the ring next week - just five months after he was left for dead following a city centre knife attack.

In today's Irish News, the 20-year-old tells how he has had to take on mental demons as well as physical challenges during his battle back to fitness for the multi-nations tournament in Barcelona.

The Commonwealth Games hopeful had been on an night out with his girlfriend Caoife after a charity boxing event when his face was slashed during a melee outside McDonald's on Royal Avenue in the early hours of May 1.

He was punched and hit with a glass bottle before being slashed by a knife from ear to neck after he confronted someone who threw a cup and splashed the pair.

The blade missed his main artery by mere centimetres.

"An inch and a half lower and lower and it wouldn't have been a hospital where people were coming to see me, it would have been my wake," the Holy Trinity boxer said.

The attack has scarred more than just his face.

"No matter where I am, even if I'm on my own street, I can't go out without looking over my shoulder," Hynes said.

He has also had to give up his job for Belfast City Sightseeing Tours which was just 100 metres from where he was attacked.

"I just didn't want to be back in town if I could avoid it. I've maybe been in four or five times since.

"The fact is I still don' know who did it. I could be walking past him for all I know. He knows me because it was all over the news and in the papers but I don't know him.

"That's pretty unnerving."

Hynes still gets shooting pain several times a day in his face due to nerve pain.

"No matter how long it takes for me to get normal, though, I'll get there."

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