VIDEO –> http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/pro-boxer-back-on-his-feet/439314186
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah professional boxer returned to the ring Saturday night after being shot at a West Valley City WalMart six months ago.
“Being shot is not something you wanna experience, it’s, normally I don’t really like talking about it just because I get flashbacks and I start getting more angry, stressed out, and emotional,” says 28 year-old Jose Haro.
In October, 2015, Haro headed to the WalMart to pick up a few things after wrapping up a shift at work. He says as he was leaving he encountered 31 year-old Cole Shields who said, “sup.” Haro responded the same way.
Haro says Shields kept on him and followed him out the store and to his car. He says more words were exchanged and an altercation took place. Haro says he tried to walk away several times but Shields kept pressing him. The next thing he knew Shields began firing his gun striking Haro in both of his feet.
“I just remember being on the ground and thinking about my kids and wife, and next thing I know paramedics show up and I’m at the university and I was just thinking the worst things possible. If my feet were gonna be amputated, if I was going to be able to walk, provide for my family,” said Haro.
Shields would turn himself in to police and plead guilty to aggravated assault; he currently is sitting in jail. Haro spent four days in the hospital and had three surgeries on his feet including a bone graft and the insertion of a metal plate in his left foot.
“My right foot, one of my right toes I lost strength and on my left foot I lost feeling in my big toe. I have permanent stiffness in two of my toes on my left foot,” said Haro.
Haro went through one month of therapy but also did his own at home.
“Just wiggling my toes with my hands and I had my daughters and wife do it for me too,” Haro said with a small laugh.
Haro says he walked with a limp for two months and says his feet will never be the same again. He says every night the pain in his feet worsens and he has to ice his feet everyday to help with constant swelling. It takes him time to adjust in the morning and has to do a couple of stretches before starting his day. He also wears cushioned shoes to help with managing the pain. Two months ago, his doctor gave him the go ahead to get back in the ring.
“As soon as he gave me the OK I just decided I gotta do it now why wait?” says Haro.
Within days he was back in the ring preparing for his comeback.
“I run everyday, I jump rope, I hit the bag, I shadow box, I spar,” said Haro.
With each step, jump and movement the pain is always there.
“I’m grateful to be here, I’m grateful to still be able to do what I love to do but to be honest with you every step that I take, when I jump rope or just move my feet they hurt,” says Haro.
It’s been a tough road for Haro’s comeback. His professional career stood at 11 wins, 1 loss, with 1 draw and 6 knockouts. After the shooting he lost sponsorship with a promotional company and was dropped down the list in the rankings of top boxers saying, “I’m here so I’m gonna prove the boxing world that I’m back.”
Saturday night Haro was met with thunderous applause as he entered the Riverbend Sports Complex to a massive crowd of fans as he stepped foot into the ring for the first time since the shooting.
“Once I’m in there my adrenaline goes I kind of forget about it. I feel the pain once the bell rings once I’m resting between rounds I can feel it,” says Haro.
Haro went all six rounds against his opponent Raymond Chacon before coming out victorious by unanimous decision.
But the night wasn’t over yet, while a win lifted his spirits he had one more thing to do – proposing to his partner of 11 years and the mother of his four children.
Throughout this journey Haro says the experience has changed his life reminding him to treasure the value of family.
“Before all this happened I use to get up to go to work and go straight to work. Now, when i get up to go to work I make sure to kiss my kids and I let them know that I love them, same thing with my wife, even when I go leaving the house to go to the gym or to the grocery store or something, I just make sure I kiss them and let them know I love them,” says Haro.
And thanks everyone who was there for him through this tough time.
“It’s been amazing, I mean, once again I’d like to thank everybody that was there for me. All the people that helped out family, friends, and strangers,” said Haro.