Tokio 2020: Moroccan boxer Youness Baalla tries to bite ear of New Zealand opponent
Moroccan boxer Youness Baalla on Tuesday allegedly tried to chomp off his Kiwi opponent David Nyika’s ear at the Olimpiese Spele in Tokio, in a stark reminder of the infamous 1997 “the bite fight” of Mike Tyson.
Baalla, 22, was having a hard time on Tuesday against two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nyika at the boxing ring. The Kiwi athlete won the first two rounds with ease when Baalla went for his opponent’s ear during the third and final round.
Nyika escaped unhurt after he managed to pull out in time and Baalla got his cheek instead. The fight continued and Nyika cruised to victory with a 5-0 wen, making it to quarter-final.
The Moroccan boxer reportedly escaped with a warning after his wild act.
The commentator exclaimed:“That could have been an act of absolute madness.”
The video soon went viral on social media and several remembered American boxer Tyson when the former world champion bit a chunk out of opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear during a 1997 bout. It was infamously referred to as “the Bite Fight” or “the Bite of ‘97.”
“Did David Nyika almost fall victim to an attempted Mike Tyson-esque bite from Baalla?!” Kiwi journalist Chris Chang said.
Journalist Andrew Gourdie called it a “rock solid example of someone whose goal at #Tokyo2020 wasn’t to win gold, but go viral on social media”.
After the fight, Nyika expressed his surprise at the incident, especially at the referee missing it.
“Did you see that? I don’t think the ref saw it. She was the closest one,” the 25-year-old told a local TV station. “I didn’t think he’d get away with it. He tried to bite my cheekbone … he probably just got a mouthful of sweat.”
With his exit from the Games overshadowed by this incident, Baalla called out Kiwi fans sending him hate messages on his Instagram account.
“To all the people coming from New Zealand … with all my respect to this country but you’re not showing respect to yourselves (sic),” Baalla wrote on his Instagram story. “I will not answer any bad DM or comment from you and sorry I have big things waiting for me.”
Nyika also came out in support of Baalla who was receiving heat for his act and said “this is part of sport.”
“The heat of battle can bring the best AND the worst out of people (sic). 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,” Nyika wrote.