Boxing glove

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For the 1929 Our Gang short, see Boxing Gloves (film).
A pair of boxing gloves

Boxing gloves are cushioned gloves that boxers wear on their hands during boxing matches and practices.[1] Unlike the ancient cestus which are designed as a weapon, modern boxing gloves were designed to protect the fighter's hand during a bout,[2] though competitions, sparring and other forms of training has their own specialized gloves.[3][4] While the uses of modern boxing gloves reduces superficial facial injuries, however, as modern boxing gloves has its ability to throw stronger puncher to head without damaging the hands, it would further increase the risk of brain damage for participants.[5][6]


Boxing gloves are mandatory in Olympic boxing and amateur boxing.

The use of hand protection in fighting contests undertaken for sport has been known since Ancient Greece. In the 2nd century, Clement of Alexandria invented boxing gloves.[7] However, the gloves were very different from those of modern boxing, as was the sport itself. In Ancient Greece, it was common practice to tie strips of rawhide round the hands for protection.[8] In Roman times, this developed into the gladiatorial cestus, with metal added to the gloves to inflict greater damage. The excessive brutality in this sport at that time has caused the boxing to be banned in 393 AD.[9]

Boxing experienced a revival in Britain around the 17th century. Many bouts were fought with bare knuckles and with no standard rules[10] until Jack Broughton introduced boxing rules known as Broughton's Law in the 18th century, where the gloves were used for practice purposes only.[11][12] However, many boxers still chose to fight with bare knuckles until 1867 when gloves were mandated by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.[10][13]

Modern boxing gloves started showing up towards end of the 1990s. Over ten years of engineering and testing by some of the biggest boxing manufacturers and sport names have helped create safe, durable and long lasting equipment.[14] Modern boxing gloves include mesh palm, velcro, leather-based stitching, suspension cushioning and new padding for the boxer.[15] The UK use AIBA to approve the new design of gloves to coincide with the amount of leather and support boxers can use in fights.[16]


Boxing gloves often comes with either lace-ups or velcro. A lace-up boxing gloves is a glove that uses lace to tighten the glove to provide boxer a more snug and secure fit which requires assistance from trainer in order to lace the boxing gloves and is usually wrapped with tape before the boxing match, while velcro or hook-and-loop boxing gloves is a glove that uses velcro to tighten the gloves rather than laces in order for athletes to get their gloves on or off,[17] in which the velcro acts as a second handwrap that adds more stability to the wrist,[18] although lace-up gloves can convert their glove to velcro boxing gloves by using hook and loop converter.[19]

There are three types of padding that are commonly used in boxing gloves which are horsehair padding, foam padding and mixed padding.[20] Horsehair padding is a padding that uses material from horsehair in order to make padding for the particular gloves. While horsehair padding can make the boxing gloves environmental friendly and last longer than foam padding boxing gloves, however, its glove won't protect fighter's hand against punching bag workouts or skull of opponent.[21] Foam padding, in other hand, is a padding that uses latex and PVC foam with shock absorber in order to make padding for the boxing gloves which is commonly used today.[21] Mixed padding is boxing glove padding that combines both horsehair and foam in order to form a single padding for the gloves.[20]

While there are various kinds of boxing glove colors that trainer can choose from; however the selection of boxing gloves color differs in amateur boxing.[22] In amateur boxing, the uses of gloves color is only restricted to red or blue, with a white "scoring area" to help judges more easily see and record points from the proper punch made only through the white knuckle area.[23]

Boxing gloves 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.[24][25][26]


Type Images Description Available size
Bag gloves Guantes.JPG A cushioned gloves 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.[27] 8 oz
10 oz
12 oz[28]
14 oz
16 oz[29][24]
Sparring gloves Osaka Fight Gear Muay Thai Gloves.jpg A specialized gloves that are designed to protect both athletes during practice bouts.[30] 4 oz[31]
6 oz
10 oz[32]
12 oz[28]
14 oz
16 oz
18 oz
20 oz[30][33]
Competition gloves Boxing gloves Bail 10-OZ (1).jpg A pair of boxing gloves that are designed to protect both athletes during boxing competition or match, but are generally less padded.[30] 8 oz
10 oz[29]

Impact of gloves on safety and injuries[edit]

The impact of gloves on the injuries caused during a fight is a controversial issue. Hitting to the head was less common in the bare-knuckle era because of the risk of hurting the boxer's hand. Gloves reduce the amount of cuts caused, but British Medical Association research has stated that gloves do not reduce brain injuries and may even increase them, because the main cause of injury is acceleration and deceleration of the head, and fighters wearing gloves are able to punch harder to the head. Gloves may reduce the amount of eye injuries, especially if they are thumbless, but retinal tears and detached retinas still occur to boxers wearing modern gloves.[5][6] One non-peer-reviewed study has estimated the risk of death from bare-knuckle boxing at 14,000 deaths per million participants. This is 184 times more deaths per million participants than for modern professional boxing, which has 76 deaths per million participants (according to the same study).[34]

It should be noted that data for the number of fights and deaths from the bare-knuckle era is incomplete, and also that there were many differences in rules and medical care. Bare-knuckle boxing matches were usually fought until one fighter could not continue, with bouts sometimes lasting hours, and a few fighters dying after they were carried to their mark to restart the fight when they would otherwise have been unable to continue. (The London Prize Ring Rules later specifically stated that a fighter must "walk to his own side of the scratch unaided" (emphasis added) or lose the fight.) Bare-knuckle rules also allowed grappling and throws, and some of the deaths were caused by a fighter hitting his head on a stone or rail.[35]

Illegal modification of boxing gloves[edit]

In June 16, 1983, during the boxing fights at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Luis Resto unexpectedly beat the previously undefeated Billy Collins during the fight. However, after the match, an investigation regarding the unexpected knockout has been conducted and found out that boxing gloves has been illegally reduced weight by remove padding from the glove by his trainer, Panama Lewis. Lewis later charged for the illegal modification of the boxing equipment which is against the boxing rules and was imprisoned for 6 years.[14]

Influence of boxing gloves in other fight sports[edit]

Open-fingered and open palm MMA gloves or 'grappling gloves', which are frequently used in mixed martial arts bouts, are not boxing gloves.[36] 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 and the palm area open and available for intricate wrestling and grappling maneuvers such as clinch fighting, which are illegal in the sport of modern boxing.[37]

Uses of boxing gloves outside boxing[edit]

Ushio Shinohara is a Japanese Neo-Dadaist artist who uses boxing gloves to make canvas painting in front of audiences. The popularity of his art has led to the release of the documentary Cutie and The Boxer, which featuring himself and his wife Noriko and gained positive reviews from critics.[38][39]


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  19. ^ "Title Hook Loop Glove Converter". Title Boxing. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  20. ^ a b Joe Tessitore. "Floyd Mayweather fails in challenge to Manny Pacquiao's preapproved gloves". ESPN. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Steven Kelliher. "Horsehair Padding Vs. Foam Boxing Gloves". Chron. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
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  33. ^ "BOXING GLOVES - a starters guide". eBay. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  34. ^ Kim Taylor. "Journal of Combative Sport: Boxing Fatalities, Svinth". Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  35. ^ Kim Taylor. "Journal of Combative Sport: Boxing Fatalities Data, SvinthJack Broughton". Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  36. ^ "Comparison of Boxing Gloves & MMA Type Gloves". Livestrong. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  37. ^ "Being Well Rounded…With Kempo?". Mixed Martial World. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  38. ^ Laura Allen. "Newly on View: Shinohara “Boxing Painting”". Asian Art Museum Blog. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  39. ^ "Cutie and the Boxer". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 

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