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Tokyo – AFP
Moroccan boxer Younes Baala was banned from the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday after trying to bite his New Zealand competitor, David Nyika, in the round of 16 in the 81-91kg category..
This incident reminded former US champion Mike Tyson of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997..
Baala jumped to the New Zealander’s ear holding his arms, but his opponent managed to dodge the attack in the third round, while Sri Lankan referee Shirumala Thambo or the five judges failed to notice him..
After a fight dominated by Niica and winning 5-0, the organizers announced the exclusion of the Moroccan boxer and the cancellation of his result despite his loss..
A statement released by the International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Working Group said: «He clearly intended to bite his opponent’s ear/face in the third round of the match».
He added that Baala was banned because of: «His excruciating movement during battle».
Nika tried to downplay the incident in a message on his website «Instagram»: «The heat of battle can bring out the best and the worst in people. This is part of the sport.. I have nothing but respect for my opponent and I can appreciate the frustration he felt».
Bala (22 years old) was in 17th place in the last world championships of the year 2019.
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