A boxer miraculously survived after a knife was thrust into his face – leaving him just 1mm from certain death.
Hard as nails Robbie Pattinson returns to the ring tonight for the biggest fight of his life, just ten months after the horrific attack.
A shocking X-ray picture shows the tip of the knife resting against a major artery at the base of Robbie's skull.
It was left there following a horrific, unprovoked attack in a pub.
The fighter attempted to pull the knife out of his own face, saying: "I tried hard – it was in there solid."
His attacker Scott Topping, 39 – jailed for life for attempted murder – thought his victim would be better off dead than surviving the injuries.
He told police: "Has he died? I hope he’s died because if he hasn’t…unlucky.”
Yet Robbie confounded medics by getting straight back into his boxing gym in Wigton, Cumbria, five days after the stabbing.
Preparing for his first fight back, Robbie said: "When I look at the X-ray picture I realise how lucky I am still to be alive.
"Many people would not have been after that. I'm really grateful to still be here. Being able to fight again is a bonus."
He returned to his gym five days after the attack to show how determined he was to return to the sport.
"I just wanted to let everybody know that I couldn't wait to get back to fighting again," he added.
"I was determined that it was not going to stop me and my dream is to turn pro. If I can recover from that to fight, I have to believe I can achieve anything."
In Blackburn tonight to face Patrick Brown, of Sale, Cheshire, for a North West regional title belt at 81-86kg, light heavyweight Robbie admitted: "As I woke up the doctors were telling me they couldn’t believe I was still alive.
"I’m glad it was me and not someone else. You don’t know if they would have survived or not.”
He has been left with dizziness and headaches, unable to eat because the knife went through his throat.
"I still can’t feel the left side of my mouth. The surgeon said that feeling might come back, but it maybe wont. It could take years," he said.
Promoter Eddie Hearn sent a get well message, as did current and ex boxers Mark Murray, Billy Hardy, Shannon Briggs, Anthony Fowler and Josh Kay.
Last October Carlisle Crown Court was told Robbie and his girlfriend Vanna Hayden-Okesene were in the Throstle's Nest pub in their hometown of Wigton.
Robbie accidentally bumped into Topping who began a fight – but ended up being floored by two defensive punches.
When the pair met again outside the pub a short time later, Topping was "humiliated and desperate for revenge" the court was told.
He initially plunged a knife forcefully into Robbie's face, just below his left eye having aimed for his throat.
Almost six inches of the blade was buried into the bony structures within his skull, the knife tip missing a main artery by a millimetre.
Robbie, a plasterer, told jurors: "I saw the knife handle sticking out of my face. He laughed at me. I tried to pull it out of my face but it wouldn't move."
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