Moroccan Olympic boxer channels Mike Tyson with attempted ear bite

A heavyweight boxer from Morocco apparently tried to take a bite out of his New Zealand opponent's ear in their opening bout at the Tokyo Olympics.

'Luckily, he didn't get a full mouthful,' says New Zealand opponent

Morocco's Youness Baalla, right, and New Zealand's David Nyika fight during their men's heavy (81-91kg) preliminary, round of 16 boxing match at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. (Luis Robayo/Getty Images)

A heavyweight boxer from Morocco apparently tried to take a bite out of his New Zealand opponent's ear in their opening bout at the Tokyo Olympics.

Youness Baalla's attempt to fight like Mike Tyson occurred late in the third round of his loss to David Nyika during a clinch in the center of the ring. The bite didn't appear to have any teeth, and Nyika advanced to the quarterfinals by unanimous decision.

"He didn't get a full mouthful," Nyika said. "Luckily he had his mouth guard in, and I was a bit sweaty. ... I think he tried to get my cheekbone. He probably just got a mouthful of sweat."

The referee didn't see the bite, which was only picked up on television. Baalla wasn't penalized during the bout, but Nyika won handily anyway.

WATCH | Moroccan boxer tries to take 'Mike Tyson' bite out of Kiwi opponent:

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Tyson famously bit Evander Holyfield's ear twice in 1997. Baalla wasn't as successful, but he was still ripped on social media by Nyika's fans until Nyika made a post defending Baalla on his Instagram account.

"The heat of battle can bring the best AND the worst out of people," Nyika wrote. "This is part of sport. I have nothing but respect for my opponent and can appreciate the frustration he must have felt."

Nyika advanced to face Uladzislau Smiahlikau of Belarus on Friday for a place in the medal rounds.

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