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Monday, April 18, 2022

The Different Types of Boxing Gloves

Boxing gloves are an important and yet overlooked aspect of the sport. Boxers must consider many different features of a glove in order to choose the right one for them. Wrist support, knuckle support, room in the hand compartment, and design are a few of the more important factors. One significant similarity, however, is the weight of the glove. Typically, welterweights and lighter fight with eight ounce gloves while junior middleweights and above wear ten ounce gloves.

Though most brands offer different types of gloves, they tend to get associated with a certain style. "Reyes is more of a puncher's glove, and Everlast is more of a boxer's glove," says former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Reyes was founded in Mexico City, Mexico in 1945. Its founder, Claudio Reyes, was an innovator. His product soon gained a reputation as a puncher's glove. “The Reyes boxing gloves are what you use if you want to knock people out,” claims  Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, whose most famous charge, Manny Pacquiao, wore Reyes gloves. 

Writer David Walker explains, "The Reyes glove is known as 'a puncher’s glove' because it has a lightweight feel, a slimmer profile and, most importantly, an inner layer of horsehair padding that tends to flatten down and harden over the course of a fight."

Floyd Mayweather Jr. used Reyes gloves early in his pro career but developed hand problems and switched brands. Hand injuries are a major concern for boxers as former pro Boyd Melson well knows.

"Personally, I liked having a good amount of padding on my knuckles. You’re going to hurt your knuckles, so it’s important to keep them as protected as you can!" says Melson, who wore Everlast gloves in the ring.
Manny Pacquiao wore Reyes gloves

Founded in the Bronx, New York in the early 1910s by Jacob Golomb, the Jewish son of an immigrant tailor, Everlast was initially devoted to swimwear. As the story goes, Golomb provided a down-and-out Jack Dempsey with boxing equipment. In return, Dempsey wore Everlast gloves when he destroyed Jess Willard to win the world heavyweight championship in 1919, and the brand took off.

The great Jewish world lightweight champion Benny Leonard not only wore Everlast, but played an advisory role in the company. More recent Jewish fighters (former WBA world junior middleweight champion) Yuri Foreman and (WBF world junior welterweight champion) Dmitriy Salita wore Everlast gloves, too. While Dempsey was more of a brawler, Leonard, Foreman, and Salita were technically sound boxers to varying degrees.

Everlast is known as a boxer's glove because of the foam padding on the knuckles which is meant to protect them at the expense of power. However, Everlast does sell a puncher's glove called the MX, which uses horsehair as padding.

Cletus Seldin, a massive puncher, has also worn Everlast in several of his fights. Clearly, the gloves have not hindered his knockout power. The Hebrew Hammer has also worn Grant gloves, going back-and-forth between the two types during his career.

Benny Leonard wore Everlast gloves

Grant was founded in 1995 in New York and the gloves are made in Mexico. They are know for their high quality materials. After using Reyes gloves, Floyd Mayweather Jr. moved over to Grant and helped the popularity of the company soar.  Gennady "GGG" is another popular figure who punches with Grant.

Grant gloves are known to protect a boxer's hands but don't take away as much power as some brands. The gloves fit snug and lock in the hand and wrist in a straight line offering wrist protection. Padding around the wrist only enhances the protection. "Every fighter should be fighting in Grant boxing gloves," says Mayweather. "The gloves are extremely comfortable."

Floyd Mayweather Jr. switched to Grant gloves midcareer

Over in the United Kingdom, Lonsdale, founded in 1960 in London, soon developed a
positive reputation. Celebrities hoped to be seen in their clothing. Former pro boxer Tony Milch remembers going with his stepdad to the Lonsdale store on Beak Street in London's shopping hub known as Covent Gardens when he just started boxing. "It was a real old school boxing shop," he recalls fondly. "The original Lonsdale was the best."

In the early 2000s, neo-Nazis throughout Europe began proudly displaying Lonsdale gear. The term "Lonsdale youth" became synonymous with teens who espoused extreme right wing views. These neo-Nazis wore bomber jackets over their Lonsdale shirts, which coincidentally have the letters "nsda" which almost amounts to the initials of Adolph Hitler's Nazi party (NSDAP). Bizarre as that might be, it signified a major problem for Lonsdale, who actively combatted the unwitting association with neo-Nazis by initiating an anti-racist campaign.

Around the same time, in 2002, Sports Direct, now known as the Frasers Group, bought out Lonsdale, just as they would acquire Everlast five years later. The quality of the gloves have worsened since. Tony Milch blames the gloves for a broken right hand and bursitis early in his pro career. "They are not the best quality," Milch says of Lonsdale, "The brand changed and sold out."

Milch, the head of the Gloves and Doves initiative which promotes peace in the Middle East through boxing, prefers Reyes and Winning gloves.

Tony Milch soured on Lonsdale gloves (Marc Morris)

Reyes and Winning are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of style, but both are known for superior quality. While Reyes are puncher's gloves, Winning gloves are often refer to as pillows.

Winning was founded in 1937 in Japan, around the height of its empire. The gloves are of high quality and very expensive. They are protective of a boxer's knuckles and wrists. Some argue that the hand compartment is too snug.

Many boxers, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., train with Winning gloves. They're usually not used in competition because it's difficult to generate power due to the high-level of synthetic padding. However, "The Monster," Naoya Inoue, the most feared bantamweight in the world and a top ten pound-for-pound fighter with 19 KOs in his 22 bouts, fights with Winning gloves. It's a testament to Inoue's punching power that he's able to score so many knockouts with such pillowy gloves.

Naoya Inoue uses Winning gloves

While Winning is generally regarded as the best gloves to protect one's hands, Rival gloves are usually thought of as the coolest looking. Former trainer and current cutman Russ Anber founded the company in Montreal, Canada in 2003. He initiated several design changes, including creating a shorter body of the glove and longer cuff so that the laces are tied on the boxer's wrist. The gloves also have an angular lace track to promote increased wrist support.

Vasiliy Lomachenko and Olexandr Usyk, two of the ten best boxers in the world, wear Rival in the ring. Anber serves as cutman to both fighters. Isaac Chilemba, a contender at super middleweight and light heavyweight for many years, often wears Rival gloves. In fact, his first fight against Tony Bellew on March 30, 2013 was the first time two competing boxers wore Rival gloves
 in a professional fight outside of Canada.
Isaac Chilemba wears Rival gloves

These are just a few of the more noteworthy brands that sell boxing gloves. In addition to Leone (from Italy), Venum (from France), Title, and Hayabusa, there are many more, each with their own unique makeup. For fans who don't already, be sure to note the boxers' gloves. They can give a window into a fighter's mentality.

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