Whose ear did Mike Tyson bite off during a professional boxing match?

Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield
Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield
Avinash Tewari

Mike Tyson gained fame for a lot of things other than boxing including his lavish parties and pet tiger to name a few. However, there is an incident that has gone down in history as one of the most bizarre occurrences to have ever taken place in a boxing ring. Mike Tyson bit a piece of his opponent's ear clean off during a fight in 1997.

Whose ear did Mike Tyson bite?

Mike Tyson won the WBA heavyweight title on September 7, 1996 and made his first defense against Evander Holyfield on November 9th of the same year. The 25-1 underdog Evander Holyfield shocked the world by winning via TKO in the eleventh round.

There was more than one instance during the fight when 'Iron' Mike Tyson complained of headbutts, but they were deemed unintentional by the referee. Tyson lost his first WBA defense and the rematch was scheduled for June 28, 1997.

In their second outing, Holyfield stunned Tyson in round one but the former champion fought back immediately. In round two, Holyfield ducked, leading to a headbutt that seemed to open a cut above Mike Tyson's eye. After reviewing the replays, the referee deemed the headbutt unintentional.

Tyson began the third round with rage and fury, and with forty seconds left on the clock, found himself in a clinch with Evander Holyfield. He rolled his head above Holyfield's right shoulder and bit the champion on the ear. As Holyfield screamed in pain, Mike Tyson appeared to spit out a piece of ear cartilage on the ring floor.

The fight stalled for several minutes after which the ringside doctor declared Holyfield fit to continue and the referee deducted two points from Mike Tyson. As the fight resumed, the two heavyweights found themselves in another clinch, during which Tyson bit Holyfield's left ear, but the fight was not stopped.

At the end of the round, the referee examined the bite marks on Holyfield's left ear and called a stop to the fight, disqualifying Mike Tyson. Tyson was also charged a $3 million fine and his boxing license was revoked. The latter would be reinstated in 1998.

Mike Tyson maintained that the bites were in retaliation for the headbutts from Holyfield in both their fights. However, he did eventually apologize to Evander Holyfield, who accepted the apology. The two heavyweight legends are even set for a trilogy bout this year.

The incident has been immortalized as one of the most bizarre occurrences in a boxing ring, to the extent that the fight is often referred to as 'The Bite Fight'. You can watch the incident in the video below:


Edited by John Cunningham
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