December 26, 2008 / 1:17 PM / 10 years ago

Don't get punchy on Boxing Day, India says

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Boxing Day isn’t a day to put up your dukes and get into the ring, Indian boxing officials said Friday.

Seeking to allay apparent confusion among boxing buffs, the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) said the day after Christmas was named for the practice of leaving gifts for the underprivileged in poor boxes in churches, not “the sweet science.”

IBF Secretary-General Colonel P.K. Muralidharan Raja said he had received numerous queries from the public and the media in India about why the federation had not made any special arrangements to celebrate Boxing Day this year.

“This is to inform you all that “Boxing Day’ has nothing to do with the sport of boxing,” Raja said in an e-mail.

“Traditionally this was the day to open the Christmas Box and share the gifts with the poor,” he said.

Boxing Day is a holiday in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many other former Commonwealth countries, and also often marks the unofficial start of post-Christmas discount sales in retail outlets.

Boxing is growing in popularity in India, which this year won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, its first Olympic boxing medal, and three bronzes at the boxing world cup.

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