Boxing

Morocco’s Youness Baalla almost bite off winner’s ear in Olympics boxing

Morocco’s Youness Baalla attempting to bite off the ear of his opponent from New Zealand, David Nyika

There were scenes reminiscent of the renowned Mike Tyson infamous ear-biting incident at the ongoing Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, when Morocco’s Youness Baalla attempted to chew his opponent’s ear during an eventful boxing match.

The 22-year-old boxer was trailing New Zealand’s David Nyika on points in the third and final round of their last 16 heavyweight bout when he attempted the inexcusable and very denigrating act.

Midway through the round, as the pair bunched together, Balla was seen in slow motion replays moving his open mouth towards Nyika’s ear with the unveiled attempt to lock on his opponent’s right ear lobe.

But for the fortunate evasive manoeuvres of Nyika that saved him from the shock advances of Balla’s canines, it is impossible to say how much of a bloody encounter it could have caused in the boxing ring of the heavyweight bout.

Although Nyika finished the bout with complete ears and a 5-0 victory, the 25-year-old New Zealander was surprised to note that the incident was completely missed by the referee and was dismayed that his opponent had the intentions to attempt such barbarity.

In post-match comments, Nyika remarked to the press: “Did you see that? I don’t think the ref saw it. She was the closest one. He didn’t get a full mouthful. Luckily he had his mouthguard in and I was a bit sweaty.

“I don’t remember what I said to him but I gave him a little bit of a cheek. I have been bitten once on the chest before at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. But c’mon man, this is the Olympics.”

Recalls that in 1997, in a boxing match that was to be rechristened “The Bite Fight”, Iron Mike bit a chunk out of the ear of his heavyweight opponent Evander Holyfield at their Madison Square Gardens world title fight.

For the dastardly action, Tyson was disqualified and had his boxing licence revoked for 15 months. He never rose to his pre-bite status after that and it has remained a story to be told for generations to come.

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