Is there a Copycat Problem in the Boxing Equipment Industry?

Is there a copycat problem in the boxing equipment industry?

In recent weeks, Rival Boxing CEO Russ Anber vented his frustration towards a certain Adidas boxing glove release, which shared a few too similarities with Rival’s own boxing gloves. It’s not our place to comment on the legitimacy of this claim, but it did get us wondering whether this is just a symptom of a bigger issue across the boxing industry.

Rival’s issue

In early September, Rival Boxing CEO Russ Anber took to instagram in order to display his frustration towards the newly released Adidas ‘Adi-Speed’ 500 Pro Sparring Gloves. Here’s what he had to say:

So a gazillion dollar company like @adidasboxing is blatantly copying @rivalboxinggear signature Angled Lace Track. This had been the defining look of Rival since our inception in 2003 and now Adidas is stealing our look. 🤦‍♂️ Cant come up with your own ideas. We aren’t the only company you’ve stolen from either! Very piss poor coming from a company like you! #Boxing #Boxe #Boxeo

@russanber, Sept 8th 2019

Here’s a better image of the gloves in question if you want to make your own mind up on the matter.

Is there a copycat problem in the boxing equipment industry?

Now, we’re not informed enough in the legal side of the matter to discuss this in any real detail. What we will say however is that there’s clearly a similarity in design to the angled lace track that Rival are known for.

It’s becoming increasingly more important for brands to protect their designs, and the few brands trying to be innovative have to act carefully and trademark as many new creations as possible.

Brands copying features

Brands copying features is nothing new.

A perfect example is Hayabusa’s Patented DUAL-X™ Closure System, which is formed of two straps – one of which is elasticated – each crossing from different directions. This is a distinctive feature of the brand’s Tokushu range, but since it’s development there have been numerous attempts to replicate this from other larger brands.

Hayabusa T3 dual-strap system
Hayabusa T3 dual-strap system

Some of these achieve similar effects, while some outright copy the exact system. Without mentioning names, we’ve even reviewed such gloves. While they may work to an extent, I wouldn’t say any have managed to replicate the fit and support that Hayabusa developed. Usually consumers don’t tend to mind these similarities so much, as long as the gloves aren’t copying the exact same style, or try to bring something new to the table – but that isn’t always the case.

Ripped off designs

Unfortunately, while the Rival case is a slightly higher profile case, suspiciously familiar designs are all too common among the smaller brands in the industry.

If you spend enough time looking online, you’re likely to stumble across all too familiar looking gloves, branded with an unknown logo. There are a good number of brands who face this issue, but from our experience, mainstream brands like Everlast, RDX and Hayabusa are seemingly among the most copied.

Is there a copycat problem in the boxing equipment industry?

A good example are RDX’s F7 Ego Boxing Gloves, which I’ve personally spotted several other companies using this exact same design.

Is there a copycat problem in the boxing equipment industry?

Issues like these are often at the expense of the customers. Somebody who isn’t as well informed could easily end up buying a glove they believe they recognise, only to find it is an inferior glove, potentially even poorly made.

The issue here is it’s hard to tell what the reason for this is. It’s perfectly possible that in some cases, the manufacturer licensed a glove design out to the brand, without any sort of exclusivity. But it’s also possible that there are some manufacturers who have no respect for the legality of issue, and directly rip off the designs other companies have worked hard to produce.

While it seems like that may be a bit of an accusation, we know for a fact that it happens – just look at the amount of fake products out there.

Fake products

Possibly the biggest issue of all, are the counterfeit products on the market. We’ve had various people ask us over the years “How can I tell if my new gloves are real?” which just goes to show how widespread the issue has become. Some equipment reviewers on Youtube go as far as creating guides and explanations to help determine the differences.

When it comes to outright fakes, you tend to notice that the more expensive the glove is, the more fakes there are out there. These dodgy manufacturers rely on the people who don’t want to pay the hundreds of pounds (or dollars, euros, etc.) for the gloves, so try searching the internet for a better deal. This bargain culture makes sites like ebay a hotspot for counterfeit boxing gloves. The issue is that these fakes aren’t always much cheaper than the genuine products, and often don’t even look that different, meaning it’s hard for even experienced boxers to know the difference.

Winning boxing gloves are likely one of the most faked, partly because the authentic gloves are so hard to get hold of in the first place, making it easy for a dodgy manufacturer to step up and pretend to be a distributor.

Websites like WBC Merchandise Europe even have guides on How to tell if your Cleto Reyes Boxing Gloves are Real. The image below shows off one of their examples of a real vs imitation Cleto Reyes glove. You might be able to spot the differences when they’re side-by-side, but unless you know your stuff you might have a hard time telling in isolation.

Is there a copycat problem in the boxing equipment industry?
Genuine Cleto Reyes glove (left) vs imitation (right) –


From looking at the examples, it’s clear there’s a copycat problem across the industry.

While examples like the dispute between Rival and Adidas may not seem significant, it’s a good example of the disregard that many companies seem to have towards each other, which at the end of the day has a knock-on effect to the consumer.

Unfortunately the sad truth is there isn’t a lot we as consumers can do about it. The only thing you can do is inform yourself – do your research before buying anything, and if it seems like you’re getting a good deal then think about it a little harder.

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