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Not so long ago, boxing gloves would simply be boxing gloves. Two identical pairs would often be waiting in the ring for the boxers who had no say in their design. That all changed around 30 years ago and, in that time, boxing gloves have evolved. The padding, from brand to brand, is different. The effect, too, has been changing. These days, boxers can break their opponent’s heads before they break their own hands. Elliot Worsell examines an important issue…

INSIDE a boxing glove you will find a hand, a left or a right, wrapped in bandage, covered in tape and curled into a fist. Inside the word glove, meanwhile, you will find the word love, byproducts of which include safety, security and protection.

Protection: a boxing glove is designed to protect a boxer’s fists and allow them to effectively carry out the job of damaging their opponent. Security: this eight- or 10-ounce chunk of leather lends an element of civility and control to an act most would consider barbaric without it. It cushions blows. It reduces the likelihood of cuts. It makes a potentially ugly spectacle a little less ugly. Safety: all the safety a boxing glove offers is offered solely to the hands inside them, not the face on the end of them.

Mike Goodall, a fixture of the British fight scene for some 40 years (in roles as master of ceremonies and the Managing Director of Ringcraft Boxing, chief provider of boxing rings in the UK), believes the boxing gloves he handles when working on events these days are bigger than they have ever been, in terms of the padding used around the knuckle, but not necessarily safer. Quite the opposite, in fact. “It’s a big issue,” said Goodall, who has been manufacturing his own gloves for the past three years. “At the moment what goes into gloves is very, very dangerous.

“In the olden days, going back to the sixties and seventies, you only used to be allowed so much hand wrap and tape. Now you have an unlimited amount of padding on the hand and an unlimited amount of tape; they’ve got big pads before they start bandaging. Gloves in the olden days were only six and eight ounces. Now they are eights and tens. “In the olden days they used to use horsehair inside. When you hit somebody, you broke your hand before you broke their head. Now you’ve got polystyrene in them or whatever else they put in there, which means the impact on the head is far, far greater than it was in the old days.

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About Boxing News

SHEFFIELD STATEMENT – Kell Brook lets his super-welterweight rivals know that he is still a threat PADDING THE PUNCHES – Investigating the safety and suitability of modern-day boxing gloves MAKING THINGS CLEAR – How the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board can declutter the sport MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including in-depth interviews with Carl Thompson and Simon Brown