Irish middleweight boxer Caoimhin Hynes says he is "lucky to be alive" after being slashed in the throat as part of a vicious assault that took place in Belfast city centre in the early hours of Monday morning.
Belfast Live report that Hynes sustained a wound to his cheek after he was assaulted by a number of males wearing track suits. It is understood that the altercation began when one of the assailants threw a drink over Hynes' girlfriend outside a McDonald's in the city centre.
Hynes was brought to hospital, but is recovering well, and his brother posted an encouraging update on Facebook, saying that the surgery was successful, and that fortunately, the knife missed vital arteries and instead caught a nerve, adding that his brother is recovering well.
Twenty-year-old Hynes boxes out of Holy Trinity Boxing Club, and is an exciting middleweight prospect, and recently won gold at the prestigious Montana Belts multi-nations tournament in Paris. He is also expected to compete at the Commonwealth Games next year.
His coach Mickey Hawkins told Belfast Live that Hynes is "fortunate" to be alive, while paying tribute to Hynes' character:
He is doing well and is in decent spirits, considering what has happened to him. He is badly scarred but he is alive. This attack could have been fatal. We are very fortunate that this young man is still with us..
...Caoimhin doesn't drink alcohol and he has never touched drugs or anything like that. He is a real role model for all the boxers.
Hynes himself posted updates on Facebook, to thank those who sent messages of support, and he also shared a pretty graphic image showing the injury.
The PSNI are appealing for witnesses, and anyone in a position to help is asked to contact them at Musgrave Police Station on 101 quoting reference 165 of 01/05/17. Information can also be passed anonymously via the Independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.