Boxing Day is the day after Christmas and is observed by the United Kingdom and its former colonies including Canada, New Zealand, Australia and most of the Commonwealth nations – including most English-speaking African countries – as a public holiday.
Believed to have started in Britain in the 1800s to offer boxed gifts to employees, tradespeople and the poor, the day is also observed by some European countries including Spain, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia who celebrate it as a “Second Christmas Day”.
In the 21st century, Boxing Day serves as “Black Friday” for people in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia where shops hold sales and offer outstanding discounts. Sporting activities are traditionally held to mark the day including rugby, football, cricket, horse racing and ice hockey.
However, some African nations take the day literally to organise boxing bouts that are watched nationally on television and patronized by lovers of the gentleman’s sport and the creme de la creme of the society.
African countries including Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania schedule professional and amateur boxing fights on Boxing Day. These countries are big lovers of the sport and have produced world champions in the past years.
Nigeria is hosting an international boxing event with world titles up for grabs. Nigerian boxer, Olaide “Fijaborn” Fijabi will face Kenya’s Michael Odhiambo for the African Boxing Union (ABU) light welterweight title while Egyptian and Mediterranean lightweight champion, Abdulrahim Ahmed, will clash with Nigerian champion Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph for the African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight title.
Ghanaian boxer Arye Ayitteh is also planning to strip off the West African Boxing Union (WABU) middleweight champion title from Nigerian Abolaji “Afonja Warrior” Rasheed on Boxing Day. There are other non-title fights scheduled on the day to entertain holiday-makers.
Historically, Boxing Day 1908 is when Jack Johnson became the first Black heavyweight boxing champion.