Every sport in the world reserves some special days, where the sport is celebrated more than normal. Sometimes it could be the final of a major competition, or just a festival adding up to the event. 

One such special day in the sporting calendar is the “Boxing Day” which can be seen across all the sports, in the Commonwealth countries especially. 

What is Boxing Day?

Every year, matches played or beginning on December 26 are termed the “Boxing Day” matches. It is the first match played in the festive season across the world, which begins with Christmas and ends with the New Year celebrations. 

Originally, Boxing Day was established as a holiday since 1871 in the west, traditionally celebrated as a day where employers give gifts to employees. This was done to honour the workers who were on duty during the holidays. 

Even to this day, most charity works and shopping for family and friends across countries take place beginning on December 26. However, the term is more often associated only with sports in the current day. 

The day is observed as a bank holiday and is reserved for employees across all walks of life to spend time with their families watching sporting events or going shopping. 

Boxing Day in sports

In England, the first Boxing Day match dates back to 1888 when Bolton Wanderers hosted West Bromwich Albion. West Brom, to this day, have played 105 matches on December 26, the most by any English football club. 

Robbie Fowler and Harry Kane are tied for scoring the most goals on Boxing Day with nine each - a record Kane could break in the time to come. 

In England, horse racing also takes great precedence on this day and has been a major event in the country for nearly 150 years. The “King George VI Chase” takes place at Kempton Park, Surrey, which is the second most prestigious chase in Britain. 

For cricket fans, Boxing Day is mostly associated with Australia playing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In South Africa, The Wanderers has a history of hosting Boxing Day Test matches but in 2021, Centurion hosted the Test between India and South Africa.