What size gloves do boxers use in fights?

The boxing glove has become a symbol of the sport of boxing and has been adopted by many other martial arts styles around the world. However, while boxing gloves appear to be the same on the surface, there are a few different types that serve very different purposes. The weight of the gloves varies depending on their purpose, but they are always measured in ounces.

For boxing gloves used in competition, the main factor that determines what size must be used is the weight of the fighters.   In fights governed by the  International Boxing Association, women fight with 10-ounce gloves all across the board, regardless of age or weight division.  Men in the lower weight limits, under 64 kg, also compete in 10 ounces. Boxers weighing 69 kg or more always compete in 12 ounces.

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Continue reading to understand more about the general rules regarding the size of boxing gloves for different types of boxing competitions.

What are competition boxing gloves?

A common misconception amongst the general public is that boxing gloves are there only to protect the head from injuries, when the truth, in fact, is quite the opposite. When the first boxing gloves were invented in the 18th century in England, they were called “mufflers,” and their sole purpose was to protect the hands of boxers when training. Even when gloves were made mandatory with the adoption of the Queensbury rules, they were still mainly used to protect the delicate bones of the hands that are very prone to breaking when they collide with the thick human skull.

While sparring gloves should equally protect the hands and the heads and bodies of both parties, competition gloves are designed to keep the hands safe while also inflicting damage. Of course, all competition gloves have to abide by a lot of safety regulations, otherwise, they would just be made with metal like in ancient times.

Competition gloves are generally less padded than training and sparring gloves, but different manufacturers produce different models, each with its own set of advantages. For example, Cleto Reyes (link to Amazon) are known as “punchers’ gloves,” because the impact of the punches is greater. Grant, on the other hand, places more padding on the wrists, making them perfect for boxers who prioritize defense.

Competition gloves in the amateur ranks

The general rule in all of boxing that is the heavier the boxer, the bigger the glove is. All boxing gloves’ weight is measured in ounces. 

Amateur boxing is a very strictly regulated sport. The sanctioning bodies closely monitor every aspect, and the equipment, particularly the boxing gloves, makes no difference. Amateurs are only permitted to fight with the organization’s gloves, which must be of the same manufacturer for all competitors.

AIBA is the main international amateur sanctioning body, and they have a few simple rules determining the glove weight for the different divisions.

In AIBA, women fight with 10-ounce gloves all across the board, regardless of age or weight division.

Men in the lower weight limits, under 64 kg, also compete in 10 ounces. Boxers weighing 69 kg or more always compete in 12 ounces.

Gloves in professional boxing

Boxing gloves in the professional scene are a whole other game. There is no single organization that is in charge of the rules, so it’s up to the local sanctioning bodies to decide what to use and what regulations should be in place. But this is also sometimes bypassed when both fighters agree on specific terms that may breach the official rules. As you might expect, professionals fight with thinner and lighter gloves than amateurs.

The Nevada state athletic commission, for example (and this is the general rule across all major organizations), states that fighters weighing 135 pounds or less (61 kg.) should fight with 8-ounce gloves. Boxers above that weight must fight with 10-ounce boxing gloves. The rule also states that if both fighters agree and they do not weigh more than 147 lbs. (66 kg.), they can choose to use 8-ounce gloves.

However, this rule has been broken more than once. Here are a couple of notable examples. Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor fought with 8 ounces after their mutual agreement despite being heavier than the maximum limit stated by the commission.  Even heavyweights have been known to use 8-ounce gloves, like in the legendary Thrilla in Manilla bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975.

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