Recovering: Shannon Taylor. Picture by Wolter PeetersShannan Taylor lies in his hospital bed speaking quietly but clearly about his plans for the future and the incident which almost cost him his life.
Taylor – known in the boxing world as the “Bulli Blaster” – spoke yesterday for the first time since being taken off a life support machine after a drug overdose nine days ago.
The boxer, who is now listed in a serious but stable condition, was taken to hospital with another man, after a night of partying at a Russell Vale townhouse.
Having woken from an induced coma only 72 hours earlier, Taylor yesterday first wanted to thank those closest to him for getting him through the initial stages of his remarkable recovery.
But he also spoke of the night that led to his hospitalisation, admitting he mistakenly took heroin, which led him to “a scary place”.
“You know what? We were just boys having a bit of a play,” Taylor recalled.
“We didn’t know it was the wrong stuff. It was heroin and I wouldn’t have that in a million years … I would never take heroin.
“I’ll tell you something. I never want to be on the nod again. I tell you it’s a scary place.
“I thought I was on a bus going down the coast. It was creepy.
“God gave me the opportunity to live through it.”
Taylor remains in the intensive care unit at Wollongong Hospital, where he is receiving support from hospital staff.
He thanked his family and friends, fellow boxers and sportspeople – including former rugby league international Terry Hill who came down from Sydney to visit him – and members of the public for their support through his ordeal.
He also revealed he would wed Bec, his long-term partner and mother of three of his children, early next year.
“Do you know I’m getting married?” Taylor said.
“I’m getting married to Bec around the 14th of February, and she said, ‘As long as you’re walking.’
“I’m feeling good. You don’t realise what life’s about … how it can be taken away.”
Taylor was blown away by the level of support he and his family had received.
“I’d like to thank Danny Green for giving me a rap. I always was upset with Danny Green because he never ever gave me a rap,” Taylor said.
“I’d like to thank [Perth trainer] Craig Christian and [WBA world super featherweight champion] Chris John for putting ‘The Bulli Blaster’ on the back of their shirts [in the world title fight in Perth last Wednesday night].”
Taylor also expressed his love for his mother, Karren, father, Steve, and sister, Kirsty.
“My mum’s been here every day,” he said. “Mum’s come through the hard part. Now she’s giving me a hiding every day, as your mum should do.
“I just want her to give me a break.”
Even though Taylor knows he has plenty of challenges ahead of him and won’t be walking out of hospital any time soon, already he has defied the odds.
He is tackling the future in a positive frame of mind.
“I can’t get up … but tomorrow I’m doing my own rehabilitation. I’m going to work with them but also I’m going to do push-ups,” he said.
“I’m going to do squats, old George Daldry stuff.
“You know what, I’m gonna get little dumb-bells, I’m gonna push ’em up. I’m gonna do it all.
“Shannan Taylor’s coming back bigger and better than ever.
“And you know what? Sober as a judge.”
With that, it was time for Taylor to have a sleep.
He’s come a long way in a short time. It is a small step in a long journey.