Matador Juan José Padilla returns to the ring… and so do I

My friend, the legendary matador Juan José Padilla who is the first four chapters of my book Into The Arena, whose terrible goring last year cost him an eye as detailed here, is confirmed to return to the professional arena in Olivenza, Spain, on the final day of the feria there on Sunday, March 4th.

The matadors who are to accompany him are two of greatest working today. Morante de la Puebla, the Divine Cape, is an artistic genius and a childhood friend of Padillas. The second is José María Manzanares, son of the great matador of the same name, who put in a performace last year which stunned Spain and elevated him to “man of the moment”. Only Julián López – El Juli – and José Tomás also fight at this level.

They will be facing the best bulls in Spain, Núñez del Cuvillo, whose cattle are known for their ferocity and courage (as I have experienced myself). It was one of their bulls, fought by Manzanares, who was pardoned for bravery in Seville last year – the first pardon in that discerning ring in half a century.

I will be at Padilla’s side in training on the ranch – my own return to the ring with cattle – and in the callejón – the bullfighter’s alley – at the plaza de toros itself.

Alexander Fiske-Harrison

Juan José Padilla with a Miura bull, Pamplona 2011 (Photo: AFH personal collection)

Advertisements

The matador Juan José Padilla, in his own words – #fuerzapadilla

Juan José Padilla with a Miura bull, Feria de Abril, Seville 2010 (Photo: Alexander Fiske-Harrison)

For those that missed the news story (here) Spain’s bravest matador, Juan José Padilla – a friend of mine and major character in my recent book Into The Arena – was terribly gored a fortnight ago. In this interview he speaks of his recovery. A translation of some of his words is below…

Alexander Fiske-Harrison

They know that this is my life and they know that this is my profession, and they know that I am going to fight, I will give my utmost to be able to face bulls again, because that is what makes me happy.

And because the bull has given me everything. The bull has given me magnificent triumphs, I have been the victor of the greatest fairs in Spain, and the fact that a bull is going to give me injuries does not meant that I am going to feel any bitterness towards him. I will return to face the bulls.

In the words of Adolfo Suárez Illana this morning, who is with him, “He is getting better little by little. But he is getting there…”

#fuerzapadilla

Juan José Padilla and I in the ring together in March ’09 (Photo: Paloma de Gaytan Ayala)