THE FRESH PRINCE OF BELFAST – CAOIMHIN HYNES

There were 846 cases of reported knife crime in Northern Ireland in 2015. The scariest part of this is that knife crime has been on the rise ever since. Something stand-out Irish amateur Caoimhin Hynes found out the hard way.

Firstly I know what you’re thinking, how do you pronounce this guy’s name? It was exactly my first thought to. It’s pronounced Kee-van. Unless you’re Irish, it’s unlikely you knew that.

Born in Croydon, London to an Irish mother Caoimhin lived “the average life” as he puts it but it could be confused for ‘Relocation, Relocation, Relocation.’

“I was born in London, Croydon. I lived there until I was seven. I’ve had a wee bit of moving about I’ve lived in England and Ireland, Northern Ireland. I moved back to London for a year so I’ve kinda moved from and to Belfast (all my life). My mum’s from Belfast and she wanted to move back to Belfast (for good).”

The Holy Trinity ABC; the home to many amateur talents through the years in Belfast has been home to Hynes for the last fifteen years.

“My uncle used to box for the club I box for now (Holy Trinity ABC) and one night my mum brought me and my brother over (to the gym) just to show us where my uncle boxed. We put gloves on and the rest is history.”

From a seven year old boy to a twenty-one year old young man, Caoimhin has been a loyal servant to his club and his sport and the accolades have followed.

“I’ve boxed for Ireland at the highest level in the Europeans and World championships as a youth. I had over thirty internationals or more for Ireland, I’ve won three multi-nations tournaments. I’d say (I’ve had) over one-hundred fights easy, I’ve had about seventy to eighty in Ireland then over thirty internationals. I’ve had a lot of fights and a lot of internationals, I won a lot of tournaments.”

The Irishman’s life was about to change forever. Boxing was his life, days after winning yet another gold medal, Hynes was ambushed.

“The week before I was out in Paris for a tournament, a tough, tough tournament and I brought the gold (medal) back. I had three tough fights and then obviously I came home, I was taking a week off training and I was on a night out with my girlfriend. I wasn’t drinking and neither was my girlfriend but I was attacked by about twenty-five to thirty people.”

Outnumbered, Hynes found himself laying in a pool of blood fearing for his life.

“I ended up getting stabbed in the face. It was frightening and I had to put my career on hold for a while, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to box again or if the cut would open up again as it was about six to seven inches long. I had a successful surgery and I took about eight, nine weeks off then I started training again.”

The immense bravery shown by a true fighter shone through as the then-twenty-year-old just wanted to get back to the gym, punching the bags and getting back to normality. But with a Joker-esque slice down his face, the crime took its toll.

“When I went back to training I didn’t feel like a boxer because I took so long off at the start I was wary of getting hit on it (the wound). Anytime I did get hit on it, it was sore so it made me more cautious but as time went on I learnt to live with it and I don’t think about it when I get in the ring (now) which is a good thing.”

Just five months after the slashing Caoimhin found himself back on the podium collecting gold once more. Back to reality.

It’s incidents like these that make you put things into perspective and realise life is too short. Hynes decided to plan his future goals and is concocting a successful blueprint.

“I’m still young but I think my style of boxing suits the pros a lot better (than the amateurs). I am considering going pro I’ve thought long and hard about it and I think I am gonna go (in to the paid ranks) but I’m taking my time and I will make a decision.”

It sounds highly likely we will see a new Irish star working his way up the ladder this year and Hynes is certainly confident of his ability in contention with today’s professionals.

“If I end up do going pro I want to get a few fights under me and then start looking for titles, I don’t wanna rush things and be put into a fight too soon but I do think that I will be a World champion one day. We all have to start somewhere so we will start from the bottom, start winning and build our way up to a World title.”

If you have information about knife crime in your area and you’re nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you’re calling from.

Written by James Lupton.

@R8UND

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