How to Choose the Right Size Boxing Gloves

When I started boxing, I thought, as most beginners do, that all boxing gloves were created equally. I soon discovered that the gloves have different sizes and weights, such as 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, and 16 oz. 

The purpose of boxing gloves is to ultimately keep you from injuring your knuckles, hands, and wrists. They also protect your sparring partner from getting hurt by your punches. Different weighted gloves are used for various activities in the boxing realm. In this article, we will cover the different weights of gloves and when it is best to use them. 

Differences Between These Popular Glove Weights

The difference between the different weighted gloves is how much padding is in them. If they are a higher weight, they have more padding to protect your hands and your partners. 

8 oz Gloves

8 oz gloves are usually the lightest gloves available and provide the least protection. They are best used by lightweight fighters that aren’t too powerful. The benefit of a lightweight glove is that it makes your hands faster and weighs you down very little.

10 oz Gloves

10 oz gloves are only slightly heavier than the 8 oz and still do not provide much protection. As a fighter, use 10 oz gloves when you want to add speed to your punches on the bags. However, by choosing this weight, you are sacrificing the protection of your hands and wrists for speed.

12 oz Gloves

12 oz gloves are the most commonly used glove weight. They are used by fighters of all sizes on pads and bags. These gloves are an outstanding balance between protection and stability as well as speed and feel. We prefer using 12 oz gloves on the bags because you don’t risk injury as much, and you can still feel your knuckles contacting the target.

14 oz Gloves

14 oz gloves can be used for sparring for lighter fighters or for women. They are suitable for people with low power punches. When sparring, 14 oz gloves resemble a real fight more closely because you have less weight weighing down your punches. 

16 oz Gloves

16 oz gloves are the typical glove weight for sparring. They offer ultimate padding protection for you and your sparring partner. Although they feel heavy when they are on, they help keep your partner’s face and body safe, and provide the highest knuckle and wrist protection.

Which Gloves are Best for Which Purpose?

Below are my recommended glove weights for amateur boxers, first by activity than by fighter’s weight.

Heavy Bag

You do not want to use gloves that are too light with the heavy bag because it worsens your chance of breaking bones in your hands and wrists. Gloves that are too heavy make it difficult to feel your contact with the bag and weigh you down. Most boxers use 10 oz or 12 oz heavy bag gloves. Never punch a heavy bag without gloves! It’s not worth risking injury to your delicate and wrist bones. 

Pads

Pad training is similar to heavy bag training in that you do not want the gloves to be too light or too heavy. Many boxers have two sets of gloves, one for the bags and pads and one for sparring. 

Sparring

With sparring, there is a lot more at stake, and heavier is usually better. Heavy gloves slow down your hands, causing less trauma and adding cushion to your punches. Too light of gloves can leave your opponent with serious face, body, or head injuries and leave you with broken wrists, hand bones, or knuckles. 

Light fighters and women can often use 14 oz gloves, but most fighters should use 16 oz gloves for sparring.

Men by Weight 

  • Men weighing 100 pounds or less should use 8 oz gloves for pads and bags and 12-16 oz gloves for sparring.  
  • Men weighing between 100-150 pounds can use 10 oz gloves for training and 16 oz for sparring. 
  • Men weighing over 150 pounds should use 12 oz gloves for all training and at least 16 oz gloves for sparring.

Women and Youth by Weight

  • Women and children that weigh under 100 pounds should use 6 oz gloves (or youth gloves) for training with pads and bags and 12-16 oz gloves for sparring. 
  • Women and children between 100 and 110 pounds would likely benefit most from 8 oz training gloves and 16 oz for sparring. 
  • Women and children weighing between 110 and 130 pounds typically use 10 oz bag and pad gloves and 16 oz sparring gloves. 
  • Women and children over 130 pounds use 12 oz gloves for training and 16 oz gloves for sparring.

Super Heavyweights

If you are a super heavyweight fighter or weigh over 200 pounds, you may consider using heavier gloves for sparring, such as 18 oz or even 20 oz. 

Which Gloves are Used in Pro Boxing Bouts?

In professional boxing bouts, the glove regulations are very specific. Men and women professional boxers both use the same weight classes and glove regulations.

Weight Classes That Use 8 Oz Gloves:

  • Mini Flyweight Fighters, 105 lbs
  • Light Flyweight Fighters, 105-108 lbs
  • Flyweight FIghters, 108-112 lbs
  • Super Flyweight Fighters, 112-115 lbs
  • Bantamweight Fighters, 115-118 lbs
  • Super Bantamweight Fighters, 118-122 lbs
  • Featherweight Fighters, 122-126 lbs
  • Super Featherweight Fighters, 126-130 lbs
  • Lightweight Fighters, 130-135 lbs
  • Super Lightweight Fighters, 135-140
  • Welterweight Fighters, 140-147 lbs

Weight Classes That Use 10 Oz Gloves:

  • Super Welterweight Fighters, 147-154 lbs
  • Middleweight Fighters, 154-160 lbs
  • Super Middleweight Fighters, 160-168 lbs
  • Light Heavyweight Fighters, 168-175 lbs
  • Cruiserweight Fighters, 175-200 lbs
  • Heavyweight Fighters, 200+ lbs

Exceptions:

Glove weight exceptions, although not common, do occur if there is a reason for them. The only time there is an exception to the glove guidelines is if the athletic commission that is sanctioning the bout waives the change in writing. 

One example of this was in 2017 when Floyd Mayweather went to Instagram about the weight of the gloves used in his August 26 fight with Conor McGregor. He proposed that the fighters wear 8 oz gloves rather than their required 10 oz, and they were granted a one-time exception. For Mayweather, lighter gloves make fighting easier and feel more natural. However, many people disagreed with this decision, claiming that it put both men at a much higher risk of injury.

More recently, Mike Tyson and catchweight star Roy Jones Jr faced off using heavier, 12 oz gloves in November of 2020. They also shortened the time of each round. In this case, the heavier gloves and shorter boxing rounds were set in place to prevent either fighter from damaging their opponent too heavily. They were highly encouraged not to go for a knockout, even though these lightened conditions made a knockout unlikely to occur in the first place. 

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve discussed how best to use each weight glove and which gloves you should purchase. Although these are the recommended weights of gloves, it is okay to try out a few different sizes and see what works best for you. Many gyms have communal gloves available to use so you can find what suits you best. 

No matter which gloves you choose to use, remember to have fun, and stay safe!

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