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On This Day in 1997: Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield's Ear

Tyson later revealed he wanted to kill Hoyfield in the heat of the moment (AFP Photo)

Tyson later revealed he wanted to kill Hoyfield in the heat of the moment (AFP Photo)

With his skills, Tyson ended up the becoming youngest heavyweight champion in history when he defeated Trevor Berbick at the age of 19 in 1986.

Mike Tyson aka Michael Gerald Tyson, earned his name and fame as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. With his skills, Tyson ended up the becoming youngest heavyweight champion in history when he defeated Trevor Berbick at the age of 19 in 1986. Despite being a master of his game, Tyson’s life was always surrounded by controversies, and one of them happened in 1997 which cost him his boxing license.

Tyson reclaimed his heavyweight belts following his release from federal jail in 1995 and subsequently scheduled a fight with Evander Holyfield. Holyfield was a clean-living, devout ex-heavyweight champion from Georgia who was regarded as Tyson’s greatest heavyweight opponent after number-one rival Lennox Lewis. While Holyfield had retired in 1994, he was drawn back to the rings because of a large paycheck. On November 9, 1996, the underdog Holyfield stunned the boxing world by defeating Tyson in an 11th round TKO to capture Tyson’s WBA championship.

This visibly made Tyson upset and he wanted to give his best in a rematch against Holyfield on June 28, 1997. However, Tyson ended up being disqualified after he twice bit his opponent’s ears. He also lost his boxing license to the event.

Talking about the incident last year, Tyson told Jim Gray in an interview that the intentions behind biting the ear was to kill Holyfield in the heat of the moment. The anger came because of all the head bumping. Tyson said, “I really lost consciousness of the whole fight. It took me out of my fight plan and everything."

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Needless to say, Tyson was also upset about the fact that Holyfield was leading the opening rounds of their fight. For biting the ear once, Tyson faced a two-point deduction. However, when he bit Holyfield on the other ear, he was disqualified for his actions.

Following the bout, Tyson’s life took a series of bad turns, culminating in his filing for bankruptcy–in part owing to $400,000 a year spent on keeping a flock of pet pigeons– and an arrest for cocaine use.

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first published:June 28, 2021, 09:00 IST