Teen matador who fled Spain’s ban on young bullfighters nearly gored to death in Mexico

A 14-year-old matador who left Spain to escape his home country’s ban on young bullfighters was nearly gored to death in a Mexican ring, his lung punctured by a 900-pound bull.

Jairo Miguel, who has been bullfighting professionally in Mexico for about the past two years, was fighting at the Aguascalientes Monumental Bull Ring on Sunday when a bull named Hidrocalido rushed him at top speed and lifted him in the air, appearing to carry him several yards with one horn firmly lodged in his thorax.

“I’m dying, dad, I’m dying,” government news agency Notimex quoted Jairo as saying immediately after the goring.

Jairo’s father, Antonio Sanchez Caceres, is also a well-known bullfighter who came with him to Mexico from Spain and was reportedly at the ring on Sunday when his son was injured. The parents could not immediately be reached for comment.

The slightly built, baby-faced Jairo was billed as the youngest matador in the world when he came to Mexico almost two years ago at age 12, apparently to escape Spain’s ban on bullfighters younger than 16. He once told reporters he had cried prior to a fight.

In his two years in the Mexican ring, Jairo has scored some victories that earned him the right to cut off the defeated bulls’ ears. But he has also been trampled and knocked around.

In Spain, an aspiring “torero” must be at least 16 to begin training with small bulls but is not allowed to kill a bull in the ring before he or she is 18, said an official from the Royal Bullfighting Federation of Spain.

But in Mexico, some start as young as 12 or 13, and there appears to be a rush toward ever-younger fighters who have become a growing attraction in Latin America.