HIS dream was to follow in the footsteps of his idol Muhammad Ali.

But young Olympic boxing hopeful Cassius Ellis-Young’s dreams have been shattered by an attack which left him blind in one eye.

Doctors have now told the 21-year-old welterweight, who had been compared to former world champion Prince Naseem Hamed, that he will never regain the sight in his left eye after he was stabbed with a carving fork.

Despite a last-ditch operation at Southampton General Hospital, the damage to the optic nerve was too bad to save the eye.

Cassius has been left devastated with his boxing career in tatters.

The promising boxer, who won nine out of 11 fights and became the Southern Counties Novice Champion, suffered the injury at a house party in Redcote Close, Bitterne, Southampton.

His best fight saw him knock out his opponent in just 19 seconds and his ambitions were to this year enter major national competitions including the under-20s Amateur Boxing Association championships and the all-age ABAs which could have led to selection for the 2012 London Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, Cassius said: “Boxing was my whole life. I just fell in love with the sport. It’s that feeling you get when you are in the ring, the adrenaline pumping through and the buzz of winning.

“But now it is all over. My dreams have been shattered and my whole life has been trashed. I will never be able to box again. You have to have a medical and if you can’t see out of your eye, you can’t box. I’m devastated.

“I had it all planned out and wanted to turn pro. I fought southpaw and orthodox, switching stance no problem, and I was just as powerful either way. My dreams were to be on Sky Sports winning a high-profile fight.

They said after the operation my eye might be saved and I was clinging onto hope.

“But hearing that doctor tell me I would never see was the biggest blow I’ve had in my life. The pain is unbearable. Now I can’t do anything, it has ruined my life. I am just spaced out constantly. It makes me paranoid that I will lose sight in the other eye and become completely blind. I’m on anti-depressants to cope.”

Cassius, from Bitterne, was 15 when he took up boxing. He had been named after Muhammad Ali, whose original name was Cassius Clay before he converted to Islam.

Watching his diet, training in the gym six days a week and running at 6am each morning were just part of his routine.

Now Cassius, who followed his dad John Young into the sport, will never set foot in the ring again.

He is due to have a brain scan next month to assess his injuries.

Cassius was at a party on December 19 when a man stabbed a two-pronged fork into his left eye.

The former pupil of St George Catholic Boys’ School in Swaythling was ironically making a record about his boxing called Talk of the Town before the incident. He plans to still release the track and concentrate on rapping as a new hobby.”

• Jordan Atwood, 20, of Southampton, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent in connection with the incident.

He was remanded in custody by Southampton magistrates on January 27 and is due back at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on March 24 to be committed for trial at Southampton Crown Court.