Perhaps you’re considering taking up Boxing, or maybe you’ve been going a while and want to make sure you’re using the right equipment. We’re here to walk you through all of the equipment you might need.
Boxing is one of the most widely known martial arts in the western world, and is widely practised worldwide. Boxing has been practised longer than records themselves, however the version we know today was popularised in England, with the Queensbury Rules established in 1867 which are still the basis of sport boxing rules today. Unlike most other martial arts, boxing is incredibly restricted in its ‘weapons’, using just the fists, so has much more of a demand for technique and precision to outwit your opponent.
As with any contact sport, protection is important, and this is definitely true when training and fighting in boxing. It’s crucial that anyone training has the correct protection, to ensure that they avoid injury and get the most out of their training. Luckily, boxing is fairly light on the amount of gear needed. The level you train at will affect how much equipment you need, however there are some items which are an absolute necessity.
What you need for training
When training boxing there are a number of essential items which are needed to practise safely.
Boxing gloves are of course the most important item of training equipment for boxing. The gloves are what protect both your hands from getting damaged and your opponent or sparring partner from getting injured, so it’s important to get these right.
When buying boxing gloves, many first timers will go out and buy the cheapest pair of gloves they can find. Unfortunately a lot of the time, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true here. Usually boxing gloves for around £20 or less tend to be cheaply built and don’t last long at all. While they may seem ‘fine for now’, they can actually end up doing more harm to your hands than good. We would advise anybody looking to try to spend a little more on boxing gloves, and go for a mid-range glove. The difference is definitely noticeable.
The type of training you do will also affect what weight of glove you use. Many people use lighter gloves (around 10oz) for bag and pad work, as they allow you to work on speed and technique, as well as getting used to the feel of throwing a punch. For sparring, most gyms won’t let you spar in anything less than 16oz. The extra padding is not so much for your sake but for your opponent’s protection. In high level competition, they often fight with 10oz gloves.
For help choosing a glove which is right for you take a look through our Boxing Glove Reviews.
Hand Wraps/inner glove
Hand wraps aren’t a necessity to actually train, but they are definitely a necessity for training safely. Every punch you throw creates sudden pressure on the 27 small bones that form the hand. All it takes is one bad punch and you can easily break something. To prevent this, fighters use hand wraps. Hand wraps are rolls of fabric wrapped around the hand to form a protective shock absorbing layer. They support the hand in a way boxing gloves can’t, making sure that there is no accidental movement in the wrist or hand.
Inner gloves are favoured by some people instead. These typically offer more protection for the knuckles than the hand itself, so can’t quite match the protection of hand wraps, however they are much quicker to put on, and add that extra layer of protection.
You can find our hand wrap reviews in the Accessories section, where we’ve compared hand wraps from a range of brands.
What you need for sparring
When sparring you will need a few more items of gear in addition to those mentioned previously. These ensure not only your safety but also the safety of your sparring partner.
The body is good at healing itself when injured, but one of the things that can’t heal are teeth, which is why it’s extra important to protect them. Gum shields (also referred to as mouth guards) are made for this purpose, absorbing the shock and protecting the teeth from impacts. Many people believe that gum shields reduce concussions, however this unfortunately isn’t true.
At a professional level, most fighters get custom fit mouth guards, which can be fairly expensive, so amateur fighters often opt for boil-and-bite mouth guards, which can still offer strong protection. Some gum shield manufacturers add different features to their gum shields, such as breathing holes, or being double sided for both upper and lower protection. Most of the issue with boil and bite gum shields is finding a brand which has a tight, comfortable fit.
You can find our thoughts about various brands under Gum Shield Reviews.
This is mainly one for the men out there. It goes without saying that the groin is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and is at high risk of damage when hit by a hard impact. That’s on top of the fact that a strong groin strike can render even the toughest of men useless. Boxing has its own style of groin guard, sometimes referred to as ‘no foul’ groin guards, which also cover the bottom of the stomach and the kidneys. There are other styles of groin guard available, however these ones provide the best protection when boxing.
If you’re looking for a new groin guard why not look through our Groin Guard Reviews.
Head gear is more common in boxing than in martial arts, and some gyms won’t let you spar at all without one. While a head guard isn’t exactly a necessity for sparring, it’s important to remember how many strikes to the head a boxer receives in their lifetime, so is a necessity for sparring safely to protect the head from any unwanted injuries. There are various styles of head guard, which vary in protection and visibility, so it’s important to find one which you feel the most protected in, without feeling too restricted.
Some pieces of gear commonly used by Thai boxers can improve comfort, safety and performance. While these aren’t necessary, they are good investments which many fighters use frequently.
When you first start boxing, chances are you can get away without boxing boots, however there’s a big difference in the support, movement and flexibility between boxing boots and any other shoes.
When training boxing, you can usually get away with using any shorts. Boxing doesn’t require the flexibility or range of motion that other martial arts do, so boxing shorts are typically fairly long and designed to sit well over a groin guard.
Good boxing shorts are often made with satin or a similar synthetic material which is designed to not soak up sweat. They also add a bit more comfort than usual shorts do. For anybody fighting, boxing shorts are a necessity.