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A Women‘s Boxing Guide: The Evolution of Boxing Gloves

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Boxing is a sport that is continually evolving, and Unorthodoxx is leading the way by catering for its growing audience women boxers. As specialist manufacture and the UK’s first brand, designing women’s boxing gloves Unorthodoxx explores the evolution of the iconic boxing glove. The evolution of boxing gloves has been a continual process with new developments being introduced all of the time.

The earliest form of Pugilism appeared in the 688 B.C Olympic Games. Fighters would cover their hands in oxhide leather strips that had been softened by an oil called himantes. These leather strips formed the were closer being like boxing wraps worn today. It is believed they were used to provide the protection of the wrist and knuckles of the fighter and not the opponent.

Cestus was the next iteration of fighter gloves. These were created with leather and metal plates and were often attached with blades or spikes to create weapons instead of being used for protection.

In 1743, Jack Broughton introduced the idea of protective boxing gloves known as ‘mufflers’. These early boxing gloves were designed to protect boxer’s hands during preparations for their bare-knuckle contests. Broughton is reported to have said that he invented these gloves to ” effectively secure pupils from the inconvenience of black eyes, broken noses and bloody jaws”. Over half a decade later, in 1818, two English boxers fought in France wearing Broughton’s gloves on. It was the first recorded boxing contest with protective boxing gloves being worn. Eventually, the London Prize Fighter rules, and later the Marques of Queensberry boxing rules, would make wearing padded boxing gloves mandatory for any licensed boxing match.

In 1882, the first-ever gloved heavyweight title contest was held between John Sullivan and James Corbett. Incredibly the boxings gloves worn only had 5 oz of padding and were made of brown leather. Corbett would eventually win the fight in devastating fashion with a 21st round stoppage.

It wasn’t until the 1950s when boxing began to be televised that the gloves became tanned for aesthetic purposes. Despite the mandatory introduction of boxing gloves in licensed boxing matches [4] there have been unsavoury incidents of malpractice fights before.

In 1983, journeyman Luis Resto savagely beat the previously undefeated Billy Collins to produce a big shock win in America. It transpired after the bout Resto’s trainer Panama Lewis had removed the padding from his fight gloves with tweezers[5] . Lewis was imprisoned for two of a six-year prison sentence for assault and criminal possession of a deadly weapon (his fighters fists) amongst other things.

Boxing gloves continues to develop even today. With new materials, padding, moulds and designs, the range of boxing gloves continue to grow. From professional sparring gloves to premium grade training gloves to the regular training gloves and the classical bag mitt, there are gloves designed to match the boxers needs.

In 2016, Mike Loosemoore, a leading medical advisor and one of the board director of England Boxing, led a study which found there is a difference between the male and female hand and that women are at a higher risk of injury due to gloves not fitting correctly. In response to this and the unmet demand of the female boxing community, Unorthodoxx was launched in 2018. With smaller wrists, better fitting padding and extended finger pockets (who said women with nails can’t box!), Unorthodoxx aim to equip female fighters with the equipment, protection and support they deserve.

As women’s boxing continues to rise in popularity so does Unorthodoxx’s range of gloves, equipment and clothing. Female participation in the sport has a new generation entering boxing gyms up and down the country, and finally, the demand for specialist equipment is being met.

Unorthodoxx boxing gloves range continues to grow to meet the needs of boxers at the highest, recreational and everything in between. As every boxing coach will tell you, for to ensure you maximize protection of your hands and to avoid injuries a quality pair of boxing gloves and wraps is a worthwhile investment that will pay dividends each session.

Unorthodoxx is continuing to grow its range to include our Spar, Training and Vegan Gloves - all made with the same high Unorthodoxx quality.

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About Unorthodoxx and our Women's Boxing Gloves

Unorthodoxx is the UK’s first Women’s Boxing brand that has been created purely for women and has exclusively designed women’s boxing gloves and women’s boxing clothing. Our products and equipment are designed to offer the ultimate fit, protection and durability for female boxers and combat sport fighters. From novice beginners to elite competition Unorthodoxx fight gear offers the best women’s boxing gloves, clothing and equipment.

If you would like to join us on our journey, engage with our growing community and be a part of the Unorthodoxx story follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Check out Unorthodoxx’s boxing gloves, clothing and equipment

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