The oldest professional sport in the world is a matter of debate. Some say it is horse racing, which has been taking place for thousands of years. Others say it is boxing, which has also been around for centuries.
Horse racing can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, where chariot and horse races were held as part of religious festivals. In the Middle Ages, jousting was a popular form of entertainment, with knights competing against each other in tournaments. Horse racing became more formalized in the 18th century when it was introduced to England by James I. The first recorded race meeting took place at Newmarket in 1605.
Boxing can also be traced back to ancient times. The earliest reference to boxing dates back to 688 BC when two Sumerian boxers competed against each other in the city-state of Ur. Boxing was later included as an event in the ancient Olympic Games from 688 BC onwards. The sport continued to grow in popularity throughout the Roman Empire and into the Middle Ages. Professional boxing emerged in England during the 18th century and reached its peak during the 19th century with matches between famous boxers such as Jack Broughton and Daniel Mendoza drawing huge crowds