History of boxing gloves

The modern boxing glove didn't appear out of nowhere and has a long and illustrious history. Gloves worn by modern pugilists, on the other hand, bore little resemblance to those worn by the ancient Greeks. The goal of the gloves back then was to amplify the severity of strikes. Whether they're boxing gloves, MMA gloves, or other types of gloves, modern gloves are primarily protective. Let's take a look at the rich and fascinating history of gloves in combat sports today.

Ancient Gloves

While we don't know when the combat glove first appeared, we do know that it was widely used enough to be mentioned in works like Homer's Iliad, which dates from approximately 650 BC.

The wraps, known as himantes, were constructed of oxhide strips, according to Homer. These strips were wrapped around the fighters' knuckles and had loops that wrapped around their fingers. All of this is a far cry from Virgil's Aeneid portrayal in which Entellus was able to beat a bull with a single strike using the coverings, which were more equivalent to a gauntlet.

The Roman fighting glove exemplifies the early Greek culture's propensity toward barbarism as it matures into late Greek civilisation. The gloves were known as "cestus" which had a protective covering that went all the way down to the elbow and was meant to deflect strikes. Given that most contests ended in a single blow, this protective covering was vital. When you consider that the cestus has metal plates, blades, and studs, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise.


As there is little written history during the Middle Ages, it is generally referred to as the "dark ages." As a result, nothing of significance is known about the combat glove of the time. In this age, rudimentary analyses of pugilistic sports tend to come up empty. This is sometimes ascribed to a shift toward weapon-based competitions. Given that boxing resurfaced fully developed by the mid-eighteenth century, it is very improbable that the sport vanished completely during this time.

While Europeans may have been in the dark ages, there is verifiable proof that the pugilistic arts were being practiced further east. Muay Boran, which translates to "old boxing" and is a forerunner to the now-popular Muay Thai, is one example. The combatants' coverings employed during this time period have been reported in a variety of ways. Early Muay Thai fighters, on one hand, are thought to have employed hemp rope binds knotted in twists at intervals. Consider hand wraps, but much more primitive and peculiar. Other reports of hemp fabric being immersed in glass exist, although they are very certainly incorrect.

Modern Era

Only with the introduction of mufflers' by Englishman Jack Broughton in 1743 do we have something resembling the contemporary boxing glove. We have cushioning instead of the standard leather straps, which might be made of lambswool or horsehair. The goal is now to soften the strikes rather than make them more effective, which is a huge departure. Broughton, on the other hand, intended for these boxing gloves to be used primarily for sparring, where trainees might be taught the fundamentals of the noble art. Given that they were virtually skin tight and weighed approximately 2 oz, the extent to which they achieved this is arguable.

The Marquess of Queensbury regulations were introduced in 1865 and were officially approved in 1892. This had the effect of making it mandatory to wear a controlled hand covering during a contest. In the epic heavyweight fight between Jim Corbett and John L. Sullivan, these rules were officially adopted. While the regulations have been followed in the past, this clash captured the public's attention and became a worldwide sensation. It was instrumental in establishing the use of gloves as a standard in modern boxing. The size of the boxing gloves had also grown to roughly 5 oz.

The modern boxing scene is dominated by gloves with a minimum weight of 8 oz and a maximum weight of 16 oz for sparring.

A distinct sort of glove is often used in the relatively new discipline of mixed martial arts (MMA). Individual fingers are free to allow grappling moves with these gloves, which are typically 4-6 oz. The wrapping harkens back to the sport's famous history rather than the current boxing glove.

The earlier modern day boxing glove was primarily and almost solely constructed from leather and padding made of horsehair and lambswool but with the advancement in textile technology and the creation of synthetic materials, today's boxing glove can be vegan friendly and ethically sourced.

No matter what combat sport you subscribe to, whether that be boxing, MMA, Muay Thai etc. The most important tool in your shed are your gloves. Visit here for premium combat sports gloves and gear.