Feature | Highlight 2 | Issue | Premium | Feb 11 2020

Glove at First Sight: Has the evolution of the boxing glove made the sport safer or more dangerous?

There is a growing suspicion among some of the sport's key figures that boxing gloves are damaging more than they are protecting, writes Elliot Worsell
Action Images / Andrew Boyers

INSIDE a boxing glove you will find a hand, a left or a right, wrapped in bandage, covered in tape and curled into a fist. Inside the word glove, meanwhile, you will find the word love, byproducts of which include safety, security and protection.

Protection: a boxing glove is designed to protect a boxer’s fists and allow them to effectively carry out the job of damaging their opponent. Security: this eight- or ten-ounce chunk of leather lends an element of civility and control to an act most would consider barbaric without it. It cushions blows. It reduces the likelihood of cuts. It makes a potentially ugly spectacle a little less ugly. Safety: all the safety a boxing glove offers is offered solely to the hands inside them, not the face on the end of them.

Mike Goodall, a fixture of the British fight scene for some 40 years (in roles as master of ceremonies and the Managing Director of Ringcraft Boxing, chief provider of boxing rings in the UK), believes the boxing gloves he handles when working on events these days are bigger than they have ever been, in terms of the padding used around the knuckle, but not necessarily safer. Quite the opposite, in fact.