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The Difference in Rules of Mens and Womens Boxing

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Ever wondered how men's and women's boxing rules differ? Ever questioned why women's boxing matches seem shorter? Or maybe you're curious as to whether women wear groin guards? Find out the answer to these questions and more below.

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Different rules for womens boxing

In the boxing ring, female boxers have to adhere to different rules than male boxers. One of those being that women must not wear makeup or any cosmetics as this can inflict damage to their face including their eyes and any cosmetics can provide a temporary loss of feeling in their face making any punches cause more damage than they are feeling at the time. Another rule for women is that their hair must be secured with soft, non-abrasive materials to prevent it from getting in the way while they are boxing. Another, important rule for female boxers is that they must declare they are not pregnant before entering into a bout.

Going the distance

In different competitions, there are changes in the number of rounds for both men and women in boxing. Male professional fights commonly last anywhere from 4-12 rounds while female professional fights are held for a maximum of 10 rounds. The difference the round time different means for mens boxing there are up to 12 rounds lasting 3 minutes which equates to 36 minutes. Whereas in women's boxing there are 10 rounds lasting 2 minutes which equals to 20 minutes in a full boxing match. The reason for the differences in number of rounds and round times as said by major world boxing associations such as the WBC is based on; “physiological, psychological and physical differences between women and men.” Other reports have said that the differences in terms of rounds are to accommodate certain skill levels and experience for women in the sport compared to men.

Weight Classes

The weight classes used are the same as the men's competition. Although in many major events there are less weight classes allocated to women because there are not enough spaces or competitors for specific weight classes. Currently, in Olympic boxing, women’s boxing is restricted to three weight classes; flyweight, 106 to 112 pounds (48 to 51 kg), lightweight, 123 to 132 pounds (56 to 60 kg), and middleweight, 152 to 165 pounds (69 to 75 kg).

In amateur boxing, the weight classes are; flyweight, no more than 106 pounds (48 kg), bantamweight, 112 pounds (51 kg), featherweight, 119 pounds (54 kg), lightweight, 126 pounds (57 kg), light welterweight, 132 pounds (60 kg), welterweight, 141 pounds (64 kg), middleweight, 152 pounds (69 kg), light heavyweight, 165 pounds (75 kg), heavyweight, 179 pounds (81 kg), super heavyweight, any weight over 179 pounds (81 kg). In professional women's boxing there is no full universal agreement regarding weight classes.

Weight classes are essential for any combat sport to create a fair match between people of the same size, strength and similar capabilities in terms of reach and presence in their stance. The Unorthodoxx team is committed to providing equipment to accommodate different weight classes and sizes with our exceptional range of boxing equipment which can be tailored to your needs. Take a look at our range of products to help you adapt to your boxing needs here.

Boxing Protective Gear

Protective boxing gear is essential for all levels to protect health and wellbeing. It is also understandable that there are gender-specific alterations to accommodate the needs and safety of both groups.

But first, let us start with the similarities. Both men and female boxers must wear a mouthpiece, also referred to as a mouthguard. A mouthguard is a vital piece of protective equipment that helps to absorb some of the power from an opponent's punches. Forgetting your mouthguard could leave you with a heft dentist bill. If you are new to boxing, we would recommend this is one of your first purchases!

Headguards! Depending on the age, experience and gender may depend on if a boxer wears a headguard or not. As it currently stands, amateur women boxers must wear a head guard regardless of whether they box as a novice, open class, or at the Olympics. Men on the other hand must wear a head guard until they become a senior boxer to lose the headguard. Both male and female boxers below senior level continue to wear head guards in amateur boxing bouts. A senior boxer is someone who is 19 or above, or who turns 19 before the end of the calendar year.

While men wear groin protectors for boxing matches women boxers wear pelvic guards. A pelvic guard is similar to a groin guard but provides greater protection to the abdomen area and pelvic area. Why is this important? Find out in our blog '3 reasons why women boxers should wear a pelvic guard?' Depending on the governing body women may also have to wear breast protectors.

The pelvic guard is an essential piece of protective gear for women. Despite some questioning, the importance of a pelvic guard as boxers are not allowed to punch below the others belt, the potential damage poses too high of a risk to be ignored. Unorthodoxx has worked tirelessly with our UX Squad, which includes professional and amateur boxers, to create a pelvic guard that offers protection, comfort and style. You can check out the pelvic guard on our website here.

The boxing gloves worn by men and women are the same in professional boxing and at amateur levels. Both men and women weighing at or under 147 pound use 8oz gloves as well as fighters over 147 pounds using 10oz gloves. It is important to tailor the gloves to the individual especially in competition to cater for their power output.

There are also different types of boxing gloves depending on the training or competitions being participated in. The four types of gloves are; bag gloves which are to be used on a punching bag and training equipment, sparring gloves are to be used in practice bouts and come in a range of different sizes but should not be used competitively. Competition gloves are used in competitive boxing as well as lace up gloves used mainly at elite level.

We at Unorthodoxx pride ourselves in providing a great range of boxing gloves tailored to different weights, performance levels and comfort. Shop our great range of boxing gloves, pelvic guards, headguards and hand wraps.

Types of Boxing Training

Men and women share training types and it is important to find the right one for you. Types of training include amateur boxing, boxfit, boxercise and kickboxing. Training is essential for boxing as it prepares you for the intensity of the combat and helps you ‘go the distance’. The popularity of each training type, as well as competitions, varies among men and women in boxing. Research has shown that women favour the fitness aspect of boxing, while many do compete, some prefer to take part in Boxfit and Boxercise classes. On the other hand, men tend to train in more intense forms of the sport including boxing and kickboxing both for fitness and to compete. It is important to comment that these trends are changing as boxing and its various forms become more inclusive.


There are always going to be variations of rules, regulations and equipment at different levels and potentially for different genders. These things are put in place to protect the safety and wellbeing in a very heated and sometimes competitive sport. However, many women are partitioning for equality of boxing rounds, times and rules. The decision will ultimately be left to the sanctioning bodies and national governing bodies.

We hope that you enjoyed this blog on the differences of mens and womens boxing. We at Unorthodoxx aim to provide the best knowledge and guidance to getting involved in the beautiful sport of boxing.

If you would like to hear more stories inside the world of womens boxing and keep up with the latest trends, insights and equipment, make sure to follow us on all of our socials below and get involved with the Unorthodoxx team.

About Unorthodoxx and our womens 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 sports 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 Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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