The strength of professional heavyweight boxers is unparalleled in the sport, which makes wearing the proper gloves paramount. The boxing gloves used in a professional heavyweight match are thinner and lighter than the gloves boxers use when sparring and training. The gloves can vary in weight, but are typically between 10 and 12 oz. Boxers agree on the weight of the gloves before their match.
Different Gloves for Each Use
Boxing gloves come in a variety of weights, ranging from 8 oz. to 20 oz. When boxers are training on a heavy bag or sparring with a partner in the gym, they will typically wear 12-, 14- or 16-ounce gloves. The gloves a boxer chooses to wear while training is up to him or his trainer. The 10-ounce gloves are most commonly worn in professional matches, but boxers in the lighter weight classes will wear 8-ounce gloves in bouts.
Heavy Gloves Add Protection
Boxing gloves serve a variety of purposes and there is a reason they come in different weights. The main reason boxers wear gloves is to protect their hands and to minimize the damage done to their faces when they are hit. Boxing gloves are designed to pad the knuckles and support the fighters' wrists and thumbs so they do not break on impact. The heavier a glove, the more padding and protection it offers.
An Age-Old History
Boxing gloves are more than 3,000 years old. It was the Olympians of ancient Greece who first began wrapping leather straps around their hands to protect their knuckles. In the 1600s, boxing in Britain involved bare-knuckles bouts. Jack Broughton, a Brittish fighter, invented the modern boxing glove in the 1700s, but boxers chose to fight bare-fisted until 1866, when gloves became mandatory for most fights.
Small Gloves for MMA
The gloves worn in mixed martial arts, or MMA, are different than traditional boxing gloves. MMA gloves weigh 4 oz. and have finger holes so the fighters can grab each other. They also have movable thumbs. The thumbs on a boxing glove are stitched to the glove so the fighters cannot move their thumbs.