Gored bullfighter makes comeback

March 2, 2012 at 9:07 PM   |   Comments

OLIVENZA, Spain, March 2 (UPI) -- Spanish bullfighter Juan Padilla said his return to the ring will be like "a dream come true," five months after he was gored through the jaw and out one eye.

His comeback Sunday in Olivenza after a series of surgeries on his face has come at comparative light-speed, stunning many in the bullfighting profession, The New York Times reported Friday.

Padilla's goring -- which went viral on the Internet -- came after he apparently slipped in Saragossa's bullring. The bull charged, its horn piercing Padilla's lower jaw and coming out his left eye socket.

"Sunday will feel like a dream come true, after some very hard months, and I'm fully aware that nobody thought I would be back now," Padilla said.

Padilla says his wife and children encourage his bullfighting comeback but others close to home aren't as supportive.

"My parents couldn't understand why I would want to return," he said.

Padilla's injury has renewed the debate about the nature of bullfighting -- defended by some Spaniards as central to the culture but abhorred by humanists and animal rights activists as a barbaric ritual of killing, the Times said.

Padilla's previous wounding in 2001 took fewer than 30 days to heal. It was far less severe than the Oct. 7 mauling requiring the left side of his fact to be reconstructed with titanium mesh and plates.

Spain's national television announced last month it would again show bullfights, after abandoning its coverage in 2006 under the Socialist administration.

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