A boxer set to challenge for a world title this year has spoken out about coming close to death as a young boy when his cousin accidentally thumped him with a golf club.
East Lothian boxer Josh Taylor was inches from death after, at the age of 10, he was caught in the face with golf club.
Taylor needed 90 stitches and was forced to eat through a straw for three months following the incident 17 years ago.
The traumatic experience didn’t turn Taylor off a career in boxing - but possibly wasn’t the ideal preparation for his career in the ring.
Speaking to a national newspaper, he said: “I was teaching my cousin Sarah how to swing a club when she hit me in the face with a custom-made seven iron made by my granddad.
“I felt the crack. It was like getting slapped in the ear, the buzzing noise. I never went down. I wasn’t knocked out. I just stood there.”
Taylor was covered in blood after the incident, but somehow, was not knocked out.
He stayed in hospital for two weeks and said his face “was like a balloon, black and blue” when he was discharged.
He added: “My mates were coming to see me but I coudn’t eat anything. I was fed through a straw for about three months.
“My diet was chicken soup and cheesy Wotsits for three months - it was mental.
“I saw the doctor and he said if it had hit me an inch either side of where it did then I would have been paralysed or dead.”
The boxer is set to make his return to the SSE Hydro, where he won Commonwealth gold in 2014. The 27-year-old will take on Mexico’s former three-weight world champion, Humberto Soto.
Taylor, the current WBC Silver super lightweight champion, was only six years old when his upcoming opponent – a former WBC super featherweight, featherweight and lightweight world champion – made his professional debut in his hometown Los Mochis in September 1997.
The Lothin fighter, however, can take a surge of confidence from his previous triumph, when he stopped Soto’s compatriot Miguel Vazquez in the ninth round at the Royal Highland Centre in November. Vazquez, another former world lightweight champion, had never been stopped in 44 contests.