Boxing gloves are a vital part of any fighter’s equipment. These gloves carry out a number of vital roles, as they protect your hands while also allow you to unleash powerful punches that don’t cause superficial facial injuries.
These days, you can choose from a massive range of different colours and styles. However, by far the most important question you should be asking is along the lines of “How heavy are boxing gloves??” The truth is that the weight of gloves you choose will largely come down to what you plan to do once you put them on.
So, you should really off by asking “What weight of boxing gloves do I need?” The answer isn’t as simple as you might think as you need to take into account a number of points before being able to come to a decision on this matter.
Let’s start at the beginning and see what these gloves are all about, before we go on to look at burning issues such as the official boxing glove weight. First of all, why do we even wear them and what purpose to do they serve? After that, we will look at how heavy are boxing gloves for sparring, training and fighting.
The History of Boxing Gloves
Fighters have been protecting their hands in one way or another for centuries. For example, boxers in Ancient Greece would wrap rawhide strips around their hands before fighting. The Romans added a twist to this idea with the cestus gloves used by Gladiators, which was a weapon in its own right as well as offering hand protection.
When boxing came back into fashion in 17th century Britain, bare knuckle fights were all the rage, with few or no rules to abide by. Gloves can onto the scene shortly after this when famed pugilist Jack Broughton introduced Broughton’s Law and reputedly made the first modern gloves, known back then as mufflers. However, they were still largely used when practising rather than in actual fights.
It was the arrival of the Marquess of Queensbury Rules in 1867 that finally saw the use of boxing gloves become a fixed rule for fights. Number 8 of these rules states that “The gloves to be fair-sized boxing gloves of the best quality and new”.
The first modern gloves to be worn in a top-level championship fight were slipped on by “Gentleman” Jim Corbett and John L. Sullivan in 1892. This epic encounter was the first time that modern, padded gloves were worn rather than mitts.
Since then, the shape, size and weight of gloves have all changed dramatically and different levels of regulation boxing glove weight have been introduced. However, the role that they play in boxing has largely remained the same. They still protect act to protect both fighters’ hands and heads.
Look back at some classic old boxing videos like this and you will the fighters wearing gloves that look fairly different to those used today. Part of the reason for these changes has been the introduction of new technologies and materials that make it possible to produce light, robust gloves that do the best possible job of protecting your hands.
According to some controversial studies, one of the unwanted side effects of better gloves is an increase in the number of head injuries. In the days of bare knuckle fighting shots to the head were rarer, because of the danger of causing damage to the pugilist’s own hands. Now, it is easier to punch to the head without hurting your hands in the process.
However, it is generally agreed that gloves make boxing safer for everyone involved in the sport. Of course, their effectiveness also depends upon choosing the right weight for each occasion.
Are Bigger Gloves Safer?
There are few examples to be found of fighters asking to use bigger gloves for their own safety. If anything, many prefer the speed and mobility of lighter gloves. Yet, a common theory we see mentioned is that boxing would be safer if the fighters could use bigger gloves. Is this true or is it simply a myth?
This is the sort of phrase that is normally used in the media after a fight ends in tragedy for one unlucky pugilist. The general idea seems to be that bigger gloves would mean less punishment being inflicted on the losing boxer.
Yet, boxing experts with decades of experience don’t always agree with this. In the book The Rise of Mike Tyson, trainer Kevin Rooney is quoted as saying that “the fighter will just take a worse beating for a longer period of time” if bigger gloves were to be used.
It certainly isn’t the cut and dried matter that some people would have you think. As we saw earlier, some people think that bare knuckle fighting may be safer than bouts with gloves on. Other people think bigger gloves are best, while others are on the side of small gloves.
Until more studies are carried out into the matter there are sure to be different opinions. Therefore, you should bear in mind the relatively subjective points of view that have been taken into account in order to produce this guide to the regulation boxing glove weight and other related matters.
The Different Boxing Glove Weights
The weight of any boxing glove is largely determined by the amount of padding in it. If you look for new gloves you will see that there are plenty of options to choose from:
- 4oz gloves. These are the lightest boxing gloves that you are likely to come across for sale. These are typically marketed at kids so are nice and light for them to use easily. The lack of weight means that it is hard to do damage with them, while they should have enough padding to avoid the child’s hand getting hurt. This is a great size for a youngster who is learning the technique for throwing punches and wants to have some fun with a punch bag.
- 6oz gloves. This is another option for kids, especially those who are maybe a little bit stronger or have bigger hands. They are also suitable for those lady boxers who have small enough hands for them to fit inside. Again, the low weight of these gloves means that it is difficult to do too much damage with them.
- 8oz gloves. Moving up to the next weight, we can see that this weight is typically used by teenage boxers as well as by ladies. They can be used for amateur fights as well as in competitions between boxers in the lightest divisions. Indeed, this weight of glove has been worn in some incredibly high profile boxing matches over the years.
- 10oz gloves. Once we get to this weight we can see gloves that are often used in competitive fights between fairly light boxers. 10oz gloves are ideal for honing your skills with a punching bag but not so useful for sparring with.
- 12oz gloves. This is a versatile type of boxing glove that is ideally suited to newcomers looking to invest in a single pair of gloves. They can be used for your first sparring fights, for using a bag and for training. You can also slip them on before your first competitive fights if you are in one of the heavier weight categories.
- 14oz gloves. This is another solid, all-round glove. It is likely to be most suitable for someone who is planning to fight in one of the heavier weight divisions. Again, you can use for it for training of all types and sparring. They are sometimes used for fighting too but not too often.
- 16oz gloves. With this size of boxing glove you get a good muscle workout due to their size and weight. This means that they are suitable for sparring and for using a punch bag. They tend to do used by bigger, heavier fighters. The extra padding make them useful for limiting the damage done while sparring.
- 18oz gloves. This is the heaviest weight of boxing gloves that most people are ever likely to come across or use. They are best suited to big, heavy boxers and should only be worn for sparring. You are highly unlikely to ever see this size of glove used in a competitive fight.
- 20oz, 22oz, 24oz gloves. These extra big gloves do exist but they aren’t particularly widely used. Bigger boxers might like them for sparring and training with but for many people they will just too bulky and cumbersome to use comfortably.
Image Credit: https://www.titleboxing.com/size-chart
How Many Different Gloves Do You Need?
As we have just seen, there are various different weights of boxing glove. This might lead to you wondering how many pairs you will need to buy. Will you end up with a drawer full of different sized gloves?
Well, if you are serious about being the best boxer that you can be then you will eventually end up with more than one pair. A lot of boxers will have a decent collection of gloves after a while.
You may have one pair for fights, another for sparring and another for punching bags with. In fact, you could end up over time building up a big collection of gloves of different weights and colours.
Having said that, it is certainly possible to get started with just one pair. The size that you choose will depend upon your height and weight. Ideally, you will choose a versatile size that lets you use the same gloves all the time when you are first starting out.
If you then discover a genuine love for boxing then you will probably start to enjoy looking for new gloves anyway. Many boxers end up with a big collection simply because they enjoy buying new gloves on a regular basis.
As well as switching to a different weight, you might find that you look for new ones simply to get a new look or to try out a new brand. There is nothing wrong with this but you should be sure to take the weight into account above all else.
What Is the Official Boxing Glove Weight for Amateurs?
As well as finding boxing gloves that you like and enjoy wearing, you will also have to look into the official boxing glove weight if you are planning on fighting competitively. The rules of the local boxing authorities where you live will determine the weight that you need to use for competitive fights.
In terms of amateur boxing, the boxing glove weight that you need to use comes down to the weight of the fighters taking part.
- 10oz gloves are used by amateur boxers who fight at 152lbs or under.
- 12oz gloves are worn by all amateur fighters who weigh more than 152lbs.
- 14oz gloves are the right size for Masters Boxing. This is the amateur division in the US for boxers aged 35 and over.
It is worth pointing out that these amateur boxing glove weights can vary from one country to another and from one local boxing commission to another. In fact, they can also vary from fight to fight and from tournament to tournament as well.
The reason that amateur boxers wear bigger gloves than pros is to give them greater protection from injury. This is especially important in the case of a young, inexperienced fighter who need extra protection.
You should bear in mind that the colour of gloves used in amateur bouts is often designated too. They are sometimes red and at other times they are blue. The big white section that they often have is designed to make it easier to judges to score the fight.
What Is the Professional Boxing Glove Weight?
As with amateur glove weights, the professional boxing glove weight rules depend upon the weight of the boxers going into the ring to do battle. The general guidelines are as below.
- 8oz boxing gloves are worn by fighters weighing up to 152 lbs.
- 10oz gloves are the size that are used in fights with boxers heavier than 152 lbs.
- 12oz gloves can get used in non-championship bouts.
Again, the rules on this regulation boxing glove weight varies fairly widely from one place to another. Yet, the general rule is usually that bigger boxers wear heavier 10oz gloves and lighter boxers stick to the smaller 8oz models.
We have also seen that boxers can ask for a different size of glove to be used. The best recent example came from the Floyd Mayweather fight against Conor McGregor in 2017. The fighters asked to use 8oz gloves instead of the 10oz models that their weight merited.
The request was accepted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on an exceptional basis. However, this has led to a debate about the differences in safety represented by the smaller or bigger gloves being worn.
Another great example came in the classic Thrilla in Manila fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975. Ali weighed 224 pounds and Frazier 215 pounds for this memorable battle in the Philippines.
Despite their weight, they both wore 8oz gloves. Apparently this was something that Muhammad Ali insisted on as part of this strategy for the fight. Of course, it is hard to say what difference the gloves made to arguably the greatest fight of all time. Would Frazier have won with heavier gloves?
It is important to remember that the weight of gloves you are going to use in a fight will help you to work out what weight you should be training and sparring with beforehand. Some people recommend training with the same type of gloves that will be used in an upcoming fight, and this idea certainly makes sense.
Another opinion is that it is better to use bigger gloves for training than for the fight. There are a couple of reason for doing this.
First of all, it will mean that there is less risk of any damage getting done in sparring matches. You might also find that your hands feel lighter and more mobile when you switch to the lighter gloves for the fight itself.
Why Opponents Need to Wear the Same Size of Gloves
Of course, it is obvious why fighters need to be of similar weight. For all their boxing skills and power, even incredible fighters ranked as the best lightweight boxers of all time like Robert Duran and Manny Pacquiao would struggle against more powerful opponents such as Mike Tyson or George Foreman.
Yet, the reason for wearing the same weight of gloves might not seem so clear. However, this is an important factor in ensuring an even match. It simply wouldn’t be fair for both boxers to wear different sizes of gloves, although this can happen in poorly run or unlicensed bouts.
How Will the Size of Glove Affect Your Performance?
Do you worry about how the size and weight of your boxing gloves affect your performance? In this respect, there are a few different factors to take into account.
- Speed. It clear that lighter gloves make it easier to throw fast combinations of punches. While the difference might not sound substantial, you will notice the effect of switching to heavier or lighter gloves in this respect. If you have only ever used one weight of glove then switching to a different size could give you surprising results. Sparring with big, heavy gloves can make you feel slower and more awkward than you really are.
- Accuracy. It stands to reason that a bigger glove stands a better chance of hitting the target. On the other hand, if the gloves are heavy for you then this may cause you to tire more quickly and adversely affect your accuracy.
- Power. Bigger, heavier gloves can land on their target with more power. However, this also depends upon the boxer wearing them being able to throw them with enough force. Some boxers may perform better with lighter gloves that let them move their hands more rapidly.
- Safety. One of the big debates about boxing in recent times has been the safety offered by the different weights of boxing glove commonly used. The general idea is that bigger gloves are more padded and therefore offer more protection to both boxers. However, the can also land with greater force. The other issue is that the force of the blow is more spread out with bigger gloves.
- Strength. One of the reasons that bigger gloves are worn for training purposes is to improve the fighter’s strength. The extra effort involved in throwing punches can help you to build up muscles and improve stamina.
Defence. One of the more obvious differences is that it is easier to put up a good defence with bigger gloves. It can be really tough for an opponent to get past the barrier of a big pair of well-padded gloves.
How to Choose the Right Weight of Boxing Gloves
So far, we have seen that you will sometimes need to wear a certain weight of boxing glove, particularly if you are going to be fighting competitively. The amateur and professional boxing glove weight is set out as described above. Yet, in other situations you will have a degree of flexibility in the gloves that you choose to use
The guidelines that we looked at above will allow you to get started on choosing your gloves. Yet, you might wonder how to narrow down your choices to the ideal size.
The best way of doing this is to try out a few different weights. Which ones feel right for you? You shouldn’t get too hung up on it, though. The chances are that you will buy gloves of other sizes at some point in the future.
You might also want to ask other boxers what weight of gloves they recommend for you to use. The best idea is to ask someone who is roughly the same size and weight as you are. There is a good chance that the weight of gloves they use will suit you too.
Here is an awesome video from a popular youtuber on what you need to know about different glove weights..
How Heavy Are Boxing Gloves? Conclusion
Making the right choice of boxing gloves is more important than you might think. Choose the perfect weight and it will be a good help in training and fighting to the maximum of your potential.
You may end up using more than one weight of boxing glove as you progress. However, there is nothing to stop you from starting off with a good, versatile weight that serves you well in everything that you do in the early days.