Boxer Youness Baalla Tries to Bite Opponent's Ear During Olympics Fight

Moroccan boxer Youness Baalla brought scandal into the ring on Tuesday when he was filmed trying to bite New Zealand's David Nyika during their eventful Tokyo 2020 bout.

Baalla, 22, drew comparisons with Mike Tyson's infamous "Bite Fight" against Evander Holyfield in 1997 when he attempted to bite Nyika's ear.

The Moroccan had been lagging behind Nyika on points in the final round of the heavyweight bout when, in an apparent moment of madness, he moved his mouth toward his 25-year-old opponent's ear.

A stunned Nyika was able to move his head away and after clinching the win, expressed his shock. But he added his opponent was probably left with a bad taste in his mouth.

Speaking to News1 after the fight on Tuesday, Nyika said: "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."

The incident sparked comparisons with boxing legend Tyson with several taking to social media platform Twitter to share their views on it.

One said: "I'm going to guess that Youness Baalla is a fan of Mike Tyson. Maybe not the best moment of his to imitate, though."

Another shared a clip of the fight and added: "A fan of Mike Tyson."

A third commented: "Nice tribute from Youness Baala to Mike Tyson at Tokyo 2020."

Nyika won a comfortable 5-0 victory over his Olympics heavyweight opponent to progress to the next stage of the competition.

While it had no bearing on the outcome of the fight, officials later disqualified Baalla and said the Morrocan boxer had "very clearly intended to bite the ear/ face of his opponent."

They later described the attempted bite as an "intolerable action."

Following the fight, Nyika took to social media to defend Baalla from the abuse he had been sent online.

He posted: "Please read: The heat of battle can bring the best and worst out of people. This is part of sport. I have nothing but respect for my opponent and can appreciate the frustration he must have felt.

"Please don't reach out to him if you have nothing nice to say."

According to New Zealand publication, Stuff, Nyika's coach Billy Meehan said he was stunned that Baalla had attempted a bite at the Olympics.

He added: "Not at this level. You don't expect to see that. You don't expect to get that and David handled it brilliantly."

Should Nyika advance to the final, he would be guaranteed to be New Zealand's fourth Olympic boxing medalist. Nyika has previously won gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Update 7/27/21 8:10 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include additional information and modify the headline for clarity.

The incident sparked comparisons with Mike Tyson
In this photo, Youness Baalla (red) of Morocco exchanges punches with David Nyika of New Zealand during the Men's Heavy (81-91kg) on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. The incident sparked comparisons with Mike Tyson's infamous biting attack in the late 90s. Ueslei Marcelino - Pool / Pool/Getty

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