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What Are the Different Types of Boxing Gloves?

Gloves are evaluated by weight, padding, and use.
Gloves are mandatory in conventional boxing matches to protect each of the fighters.
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  • Written By: Soo Owens
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2014
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Boxing can be a fun and challenging sport that satisfies an individual's need for exercise and competition. A good pair of boxing gloves is essential equipment for every boxer, from beginner to expert, to perform well in the boxing ring. Many different types of gloves are available to aid the boxer both in and out of competition. Gloves are evaluated for weight, padding, and intended use.

Gloves are mandatory in regulation boxing to ensure the boxer's safety as well as that of his or her opponent. Each athlete has a different style and set of needs, and boxing gloves are crafted to suit the variety of individuals who take up boxing. The only requirement for a professional competition glove is weight. The manufacturer and the boxer determine any other features.

All boxing gloves are constructed according to weight categories. They are padded with various types of material, which differ based on the glove's intended usage. The gloves are usually worn over hand wraps that provide another level of safety by securing the bones in the hands and wrists.

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Competition gloves provide quality protection in the ring against a live opponent. They are designed both for amateurs, who use 10 to 12 ounce gloves, and also for professionals, who use 8 to 12 ounce gloves. Competition matches require the use of competition gloves, and these gloves are typically reserved for use only in competition matches. Their high cost and specific purpose do not allow training with them. The outer layer of the gloves are usually made of cow's hide or goat's hide, while less expensive models are crafted with weaker, vinyl material.

Gloves are designed with the boxer's individual style in mind. The Cleto Reyes® are competition gloves, used by boxers who throw strong punches. The gloves' padding is centered on the wrist to promote harder punches. The Grant® boxing glove is a different model that incorporates more padding into the front of the glove to prevent injury to the hands. Most gloves are constructed according to these general specifications with many variations in between.

Training or sparring gloves provide excellent hand protection compared to other boxing gloves and can be used on a punching bag or in the ring for training, but not competitively. These 14 to 18 ounce gloves offer more protection around the wrist and thumb and extra layers of foam padding. The gloves' heavier weight creates greater resistance.

Bag gloves are designed for ease of use and removability. They are secured with velcro, so that the gloves can be slipped on and off during training more easily than lace up gloves. These gloves are primarily used for practice and training with different types of bags in a boxing gym. The gloves weigh between 10 and 18 ounces and are not recommended for sparring.

Fitness gloves are intended for light use and very little to no actual contact. These boxing gloves are often employed in kick boxing classes that emphasize aerobics. They provide very little protection, but are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Used primarily for shadow boxing, a process in which the fighter throws punches and pretends to box with an imaginary foe, instead of striking exercises against a bag or a person, fitness gloves weigh 12 to 16 ounces, the weight compensating for the lack of resistance that would occur if contact were being made.

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