Boxing gloves

Boxing gloves are gloves that fighters wear or use on their hands to cushion the impact during boxing matches. Their primary use is to protect the knuckles of the fighters. They are also used for protection from injury such as fractures and/or contusions when punched. Unlike the classical cestus, boxing gloves protect both opponents, and were adopted as a safety improvement over earlier "bare knuckle" boxing.


Boxing gloves became a part of professional bouts with the adaptation of the Marquess of Queensberry rules which were published in 1867. However it was not a sudden shift from the older, bare knuckle London Prize Ring rules and bare knuckle matches persisted for some time after. Gloves did exist before the Queensbury rules, however they were only used in training and not in matches. Jack Broughton is known to have created a form of boxing glove which were referred to as "mufflers" at the time.

Boxing Gloves have been around for over three thousand years. The Greeks handed it down to the Romans as a sporting event and as Romans had a tendency to do they turned it into a gladiatorial event. The old Greek method of using hardened leather strips as the gloves was implemented however with one significant change.

As a result of this many valiant Romans either wound up permanently crippled or in the worst cases it was fatal. The Romans believed that this type of extreme sport was too dangerous and in the years 30 BC it was ruled as an illegal activity and so carried on this way for over fifteen hundred years in the western world.

Boxing gloves reappeared in the seventeenth century and in the form of bare knuckle boxing bouts. As this was considered more civilized than it’s predecessors boxing gloves came back in use from then. One of the pioneers of the new age boxing glove was a champion British boxer who incorporated padding into the glove for training purposes. The majority of competitive bouts were always done using bare knuckles. This however started to cause much of the same problems as the Romans had thousands of years ago. People ended up being killed inside the ring. As with all sports the actual contenders know how they wanted to play and were reluctant to give up the purity that bare knuckle boxing had and was then banned again in most parts of the world in the nineteenth century.

Bare knuckle boxing had seen its last days on a major scale and as a results of John Chambers made global the Queensbury rules and codes of boxing conduct and the incorporation on a mass scale of padded boxing gloves became the normality for most boxing nations, signalling the end for the above ground boxing events.


Boxing gloves come in different styles and weights, and are often worn over hand wraps, which help stabilize the fist area against injuries such as the eponymous boxer's fracture of the fifth metacarpal. Speed gloves are relatively light vinyl or leather mittens primarily designed to protect the athlete's hands against scrapes and contusions when doing very light "bag work" such as on a stand-mounted speed bag. Bag gloves are cushioned to protect the athlete against the progressively heavier focuses of striking other punching bags; these are the gloves most recommended by trainers for all boxing training, especially for non-sparrers. Sparring gloves are designed to protect both athletes during practice bouts. Professional fight gloves are also designed to protect both athletes, but are generally less padded. Sparring gloves may range from 14 oz to 20 oz, while bag gloves, amateur and professional fight gloves range from 8 to 10 ounces.

In competition gloves are laced up and then sealed with tape before the match. The tape is then signed by an official to ensure that it is not tampered with. However training gloves usually use velcro rather than laces so that athletes can more easily get their gloves on and off.

Gloves used in amateur boxing are frequently red or blue, with a white "scoring area" to help judges more easily see and record points.

Advantages depending on the weight of the glove

A blow to the head with a heavily padded glove is less likely to cause the sudden acceleration of the skull that causes much of the brain trauma associated with boxing injuries. Larger gloves also dissipate the force of the blow over a larger area, reducing the pressure felt by the target, and resulting in less injury to tissue at the site of the blow. Common weights for gloves in the United States are sixteen, twelve and eight ounces. Many athletes train with heavier gloves than they will use in competition, to avoid injuring sparring partners and as a way to increase endurance.

Influence of boxing gloves in other fight sports

Open-fingered grappling gloves are frequently used in mixed martial arts bouts, but such MMA gloves are not boxing gloves. Similar to the wrist-supporting, closed-thumb, broken-knuckle "kempo gloves" popularized by Bruce Lee's 1973 movie Enter the Dragon, they provide some padding to the person wearing the glove, but leave the fingers available for intricate wrestling and grappling maneuvers such as clinch fighting, which are illegal in modern boxing.

ee also


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