Tokyo 2020: Moroccan heavyweight Baalla tries to bite opponent’s ear in defeat

New Zealand’s David Nyika unfazed by incident en-route to comfortable 5-0 victory

New Zealand’s David Nyika (R) was a comfortable winner against Morocco’s Youness Baalla. Photograph:   James Chance/Getty

New Zealand’s David Nyika (R) was a comfortable winner against Morocco’s Youness Baalla. Photograph: James Chance/Getty

 

New Zealand boxer David Nyika did not face many problems on his way to a 5-0 victory against Youness Baalla in his Olympic heavyweight debut on Tuesday other than an attempted bite from his Moroccan opponent.

The boxing task force, which is in charge of running the Tokyo competition in place of the suspended International Boxing Association, said Baalla was disqualified after the bout for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Nyika, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, had won the first two rounds with ease and constantly troubled Baalla with his pinpoint jabs at the Kokugikan Arena - considered the spiritual home of Japan’s sumo wrestling.

The 22-year-old Baalla lost his cool and attempted to bite his opponent’s ear during a hold in round three but a shocked Nyika managed to pull out in time.

Tokyo 2020

Full coverage of the Olympic Games in Japan READ MORE

The fight continued and Nyika, who was one of New Zealand’s flag bearers at the Games Opening Ceremony, booked a quarter-final spot against Uladzislau Smiahlikau but was surprised the referee had missed the incident.

“Did you see that? I don’t think the ref saw it. She was the closest one,” Nyika, 25, said, adding that his opponent probably tasted a lot of sweat.

“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 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 Moroccan team’s spokesperson in Tokyo did not respond to a request for comment.

While Baalla’s indiscretion went missed during the fight, it came to the notice of the BTF officials once Tuesday’s first session was completed.

“The boxer ... very clearly intended to bite the ear/face of his opponent in the third round of the bout,” organisers said in a statement.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.