Boxing is a unique combat sport in which two combatants will trade punches for a determined amount of time. At most levels today, boxers wear some protective equipment, but it is near minimal at the professional level. In its early days, boxers fought "bare-knuckle" with no gloves or other protective gear. They would draw a circle on the ground and simply continue fighting until one contestant forfeited or was unable to continue.
Boxing today is a more refined version of its historical predecessor, in part thanks to some changes to the combat arena, protective gear, and development of new training equipment.
Boxing, believe it or not, does have some accessorization to it. Though the standard boxing outfit doesn't change much, an individual boxer will stylize colors and outfits to reflect things they enjoy or statements they want to make. For example, a boxer from Mexico may wear an outfit with the colors of the Mexican flag. On much more extreme examples, some professional boxers have been known to wear spartan helmets, executioner masks, and even lion's heads for their walkout. The following list is a much more typical clothing and accessories:
Fight trunks are used by boxers both in practice and boxing matches. In addition to being a piece of equipment necessary to box, trunks are also a fashion statement. Boxers try to make their personalities known by having words, symbols, or patterns embroidered to their shorts, and use specific colors that say something about them. For example, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, who is known for his wealth, fancy cars, and glitzing jewelry, used to wear trunks with gold tassels and embroidering.
Boxers also have the logos of their sponsors patched to their trunks. For some of the most famous fights of his career, Mayweather had Swiss watch company Hublot embroidered on his trunk's waistband.
It is funny to think that something as small and mundane as grease or petroleum jelly can make such a big difference in boxing. Jelly, grease, or ointment are applied on the boxer's face before the boxing match begins, and in between rounds as well. The jelly or grease makes the boxer's skin very slippery, and thus the impact of punches are minimized. In a match, the cutman will be responsible for spreading the substance when needed. It is quite easy and cheap to purchase either grease or petroleum jelly, as it has many other day-to-day uses and can be found in most drug stores.
A tassel is another piece of equipment added by boxers to let their personalities out during a fight while also making their gear fashionable. Colourful tassels are attached to the boxing shoes, and as the boxer moves during the fight the tassels jump up and down. The idea of ading tassels to boxing shoes came from Muhammad Ali, who 24 hours before a fight, told the company that made his shoes that he wanted "something extra and special" for next day's match.
Boxing shorts or trunks are used by boxers both in practice and during matches. While regular athletic shorts can be worn during practice, most boxers chose to wear boxing shorts, made by boxing equipment manufacturers. The trunks are usually made of satin, with a cooling polyester base. In addition, many trunks have a velcro strap to prevent them from giving the boxer any trouble during action. It comes down to the boxer's preference when it comes to choosing how long the shorts are, as different models have different lengths. Boxing shorts cost between $20 and $40.
While boxers fight shirtless in official boxing matches, some choose to wear a shirt or a tank top when doing drills or when sparring in practice. There are really no rules on this matter, boxers can and should wear whatever they feel the most comfortable wearing in practice. Many boxing equipment manufacturers sell shirts with their own logos and boxing related phrases.
Fight gear doesn't vary much from sparring gear other than removing some of the protections. While the groin protector and petroleum remain, no organizations allow body protectors for bouts, and only non-professional settings (amateur and Olympic boxing) require headgear. Another notable difference in fight equipment is that some boxers ditch their reusable cotton hand wraps in favor of medical tape and gauze. The following is a full list of fight gear:
Gloves are a crucial part of boxing, so it is very important to choose the right size and model, as they will be worn in every practice and in every match. Boxing gloves sizes are measured in weight, so boxers have to choose between 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, or 20 ounce gloves. Your choice of glove weight will vary depending on your skill level and body weight. While heavier gloves will offer more padding, they will also make punches slower. Your gloves must make you feel comfortable above all. Boxing gloves prices vary a lot, but a good pair costs on average $100.
Mouthguards are essential protective equipment in boxing. Mouthguards are mandatory in boxing, and spitting it out on purpose during a match can result in the loss of some points to the boxer who did it. Mouthguards are made of rubbery material; they have to be comfortable and the boxer must feel safe when using them. Mouthguards vary in price depending on material, double or single protection, size, and brand, but you shouldn't find it hard to buy a really good mouthguard for $20 or less.
It is pretty common to see boxers wearing robes before their match begins. Boxers will do their preparation for a fight in a separate room in the venue where the match is taking place while they wait for their turn to fight. A robe can keep the boxers warm between the warm up space and the ring. Boxers don't necessarily wear robes; they sometimes chose to wear simple shirts, hoodies, or even elaborate costumes in an important fight. Traditional, satin-made, ring robes cost around $60 to $100, if made by a well-known boxing equipment company.
Footwork is a major part of boxing, so having the right boxing shoes is crucial for a boxer to perform at their best. No matter what level you are boxing, you need proper boxing shoes. The right pair of shoes in boxing will provide you with ankle support while also being light enough that they don't compromise your agility. Because boxing is a popular sport, there are many options of boxing shoes to choose from. You can find a pair for as low as $50, or you can choose to spend a little more for pairs around $150.
Underneath their boxing gloves, boxers always have their hands tightly wrapped, around the wrist, the palm, and the thumb, making it safer to punch and thus allowing for more power when doing so. To wrap their hands, boxers either use gauze and tape or boxing wraps. Wrapping always comes down to boxer preference; each boxer has their own way of wrapping their hands, either with cloth wraps or using tape and gauze. Neither cloth wraps or gauze and tape are expensive; wraps go for $20 or less, and gauze and tape are standard products found in any drug store at a low price. Make sure you know how to wrap your hands for minimal damage and maximum power.
In training, boxers work to hone their punch precision, increase speed and stamina, and find punch rhythms. A number of different pieces of equipment have been developed and used for decades to help with these skills as well as other fundamentals like punch form and footwork. The following is a list of common equipment that you can expect to see in almost any boxing gym:
A bell or timer can be quite useful in a boxing gym, not only during sparring but also during drills. Having something measuring time (timer) and something to signal after a period of time is reached (bell) allows trainers and athletes to do interval training. Boxing timers can be analogues, timers that mechanically countdown time, digital standalones, which can be hung on the wall and can be programmed, or even be a small wearable device, which athletes or coaches can carry on their wrists. While a standalone with many functions can cost up to hundreds of dollars, small wearables go for as low as $20.
A double end bag helps boxers improve on their rhythm, accuracy, and timing. The equipment consists of a small punching bag that hangs to the boxer's height, and is attached to both floor and ceiling by elastic cords. That way, the bag moves around as the boxer punches it. Double end bags vary in shape, material, and size. The prices can go from $40 to $70.
A heavy bag in boxing is the traditional punching bag, the one that hangs from the ceiling, is long, wide, and heavy, and where boxers practice their sequence of powerful punches. By punching the heavy bag, boxers practice not only the power of their punches, they also get a great aerobic exercise and increase muscle mass. Heavy bags are used in most martial arts so there are plenty of options to choose from. Heavy bags usually go for $100 to $200.
Jumping rope is a huge part of boxing training; most boxers do it on a daily basis in their practice sessions. Jumping rope helps improve key physical skills to the sport, such as footwork, quickness, speed, and endurance. Being such a big part of training, it is recommended that boxers have their own jump ropes, best fitted to their size and preferences. Boxing jump ropes are made of light and flexible materials such as PVC plastic, which allow for power and speed when jumping. Ropes go for around $20 or less.
In boxing, pads are a type of glove used by coaches. Coaches wear pads, and boxers have to punch the pads. Training with pads provides a more real situation than just using punching bags. During training, besides punching the coach's padded hands, boxers will also have to dodge to avoid being hit by the coach, simulating a proper match. The pads are usually made of leather or some similar material, and as the name indicates, have a lot of padding. A pair of pads goes for around $20 to $50.
No, boxers do not skydive during their training. The parachutes used in boxing are instead attached to the boxer's waist, and offer resistance when the boxer runs. That way, the boxer builds strength and resistance, which come handy inside the ring. This training is used by athletes of many other sports as well. A resistance parachute is not as expensive as you might think, most options go for $30 or less.
A speed bag is one of the most traditional pieces of equipment when it comes to boxing training. It is a small, relatively light punching bag that hangs at the boxer's face height. The bag is attached to a wooden platform by a small anchor, which is attached to the wall. Because it is very light, the bag moves around fast when the boxer punches it. The movement is limited by the short anchor. Using the speed bag improves the boxer's hand-eye coordination, punching speed, and hand position, as well as defensive posture. Speed bags are sold for around $30.
Speed ladders are a piece of equipment used in the conditioning of athletes of many different sports, with each sport having their own specific drills. It is no different with boxing, where footwork is really important. Speed ladders improve coordination, quickness, and agility. There are many boxing specific drills that can be done with a speed ladder. It is not hard to find one; there are many options with prices ranging from $10 to $25.
Sparring is a unique time in a boxer's training. Boxers live by the old adage "practice makes perfect," and sparring is, in essence, a practice fight. That being said, boxers, like any athlete, don't want to be injured during practice, and as such, they use extra protective equipment when sparring. Here is a list of equipment that boxers use while sparring:
16 Oz gloves are the best and most common size used in sparring. They are a little heavier than gloves used in actual boxing fights, but because in sparring the goal is not to hurt the partner, the extra padding is needed. If you plan to do some sparring when practicing boxing, 16 Oz gloves are a must-have. These look just like any other pair of boxing gloves, and are made from the same material. A pair of gloves costs between $30 and $50.
A body protector is a padded vest used by the boxer's partner during sparring or during a drill. It covers the stomach area, the low chest area, and the sides of the upper body, the main target points in the body during a match. By training with someone wearing a body protector, the boxer is able to practice and improve body shots, while not hurting the partner. The equipment has soft padding, and a lot of it. Body protectors are relatively expensive, you can expect to pay more than $100 for one.
A groin protector, or groin guard is a padded piece of equipment that protects the groin area of boxers, coaches or sparring partners. While by the rules the groin area cannot be hit in boxing, accidents do happen, and so protecting an area as sensitive as the groin is important when sparring. A good groin guard costs around $20.
Hand wraps are very necessary during sparring or a practice that involves punching. They prevent hand and wrist injuries. While boxers may choose to use gauze and tape to wrap their hands in matches, it would require a lot of it to do it at every practice, and so buying cloth wraps may be the cheapest and most efficient way to do it. There are many options to choose from when buying wraps, most of them costing less than $10.
A head protector is a padded helmet that serves to protect the head of whoever wears it during sparring. The head is the main punching area in boxing, and so it is important to have something minimizing the impact in that area when sparring. A head protector costs around $20 to $30.