Youness Baalla channelled his inner Baddest Man on the Planet as he became desperate during a loss to New Zealand’s David Nyika in Tokyo.
Viewers on social media were alarmed when they suggested it looked like Baalla was trying to bite Nyika’s ear – just as Tyson infamously did to Evander Holyfield in their second fight in 1997.
The Moroccan was lucky to escape with only a warning from the referee.
“That could have been an act of absolute madness,” the commentator said as he analysed the replay.
Rugby league journalist Chris Garry tweeted: “Olympic-sized chomp!!! Boxing madness conjuring @MikeTyson.”
New Zealand-based reporter Andrew Gourdie said it was a “rock solid example of someone whose goal at #Tokyo2020 wasn’t to win gold, but go viral on social media”.
Fellow Kiwi journo Chris Chang added: “Did David Nyika almost fall victim to an attempted Mike Tyson-esque bite from Baalla?!”
After the fight Nyika told New Zealand TV presenter Kristina Eddy he thought Baalla was going for his cheek.
“I didn’t think he’d get away with it. He tried to bite my cheekbone … he probably just got a mouthful of sweat,” Nyika said.
Nyika won via unanimous decision to qualify for the quarter-finals, where he will fight Belarus’ Uladzislau Smiahlikau for a place in the final four.
“It’s one down, three to go,” Nyika told Sky Sport. “Really stoked to get through that one. It was always going to be a niggly one. I feel like I haven’t really been in the ring for over a year now. I had my pro debut but it only lasted 20 seconds.
“It’s nice to get back out there against a world-class Olympian.”