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Why Do Boxers Wear Gloves? (The Answer May Surprise You)

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Written By: Richard Magallanes
Last Updated: March 9, 2021

WHAM! That's not exactly what they sound like, yet boxing gloves definitely generate a satisfying sound effect. 

But why do boxers wear gloves? 

Boxers wear gloves because they need to protect their hands, wrists, and knuckles, from the impact of the punches they land on an opponent. The hands are susceptible to breakage when they don't have any form of protection.

The type of gloves fighters wears also helps to understand why they wear gloves.

There are several other types aside from the boxing glove — sparring gloves, training gloves, and MMA gloves for the popular mixed martial arts.

Hence, we can conclude that the gloves prevent a boxer from injuring others unduly while sparring.

Also, it will keep their hands intact while training in preparation for matches.

The use of gloves has become prominent in combat sports.

And you can easily take several other guesses why a boxer would opt for the gloves.

Is it to protect their heads?

Maybe rack up extra punch power?

Or even just to look fancy?

Are your guesses correct or not?

You should read our article to find out and even know more about why fighters slide on a pair of gloves for combat sports.

Now, how do boxing gloves protect fighters in the first place?

Let's dive in a little deeper.

How Do Gloves Protect The Fighters?

A picture of boxers fighting, but why do boxers wear gloves?

Protect Knuckles

A Boxing glove is always a must-have for beginners to protect their knuckles and other parts of the hand from injury. They can also help execute techniques safely, like punching with speed.  

Wrist Support

The main purpose of a glove is to protect the hands of a boxer from excessive wear and support their wrists. 

Boxing gloves have been around since ancient Greece, and they have evolved dramatically over the years.

Nowadays, you are required to wear boxing gloves for safety when in competition.

The boxing gloves must be thoroughly examined and found not to be defective before going into a fight.

Boxing gloves are supposed to protect the wearer’s hands, allowing them to deliver punches without causing injuries or fractures of any kind. 

However, this does not mean that the gloves always fail their purpose in all instances, as some fighters still suffer from hand injuries while wearing the best padding brands.

That is why it's essential to ensure that your technique is perfect and that your hands and wrists are strong.

To put this into perspective, imagine that you are deadlifting at the gym.

Deadlifts are one of the most challenging functional lifts to do as they use many different muscles.

One thing they can do is hurt your lower back.

No matter how thick your belt is and how tight you get it, if your deadlift form is terrible, you are highly likely to get injured in the long run.

The same applies to boxing gloves.

Bad technique, fragile hands, or weak wrists are all ways to still get injured while wearing boxing gloves.

If you spar a lot, and want to ensure that you're hands and wrists are protected, you can check out our guide on the best boxing sparring gloves for boxing. These gloves are all high-quality, and tailored to protect your hands.

Punching Speed

The padding in boxing gloves will also help with the speed of the punch in fights.


Because the padding in the glove makes it possible to gain recoil after delivering a hit.

And boxers can optimize punching speed with gloves that provide more effective recoils through the materials in the padding. 

Gloves Protect Your Opponent

With the rules enforced by sanctioning bodies that gloves be used, it shows that the safety of both fighters is crucial in combat sports. 


Boxers could experience extreme discomfort by punching with bare hands.

The hands can only hit so much without protection.

With gloves, the boxers can deliver more punches and last longer in the ring because of the cushioning available to the knuckles and other parts of the hand. 

Surface Area

This is low-key one of the critical aspects of a boxer's glove.

The gloves increase the surface area of a blow.

And the surface area helps distribute the effect of the impact evenly throughout the body leading to fewer fatal injuries.

That's an advantage for the receiver of the punch. But the surface area is also an advantage for whoever is striking.

The impact of his punch on his hand is reduced. 

How Safe is Fighting With Gloves On Vs Bare Knuckle Boxing

Let's look at safety from the perspective of the potential dangers of boxing with gloves. Afterward, we’ll review that of bare fists.

Bare-knuckle boxing can lead to bruised and battered hands, and heavy cuts on the oppositions' face.  

With gloves, some of the dangers of using bare fists still occur.

However, they are significantly reduced. But boxing with gloves has one more dangerous aspect.

With a potential for more power and protection of the hand from the skull's density, fighters can deliver blows that affect the brain in the long term — leading to brain diseases later in life. 

Why Glove Use Is Good For Fight Promoters

For promoters, showbiz is vital. The boxing matches need to have lots of 'Oohh's and Aahh's.'

And to get a lot of them, the fights need to last long.

Since gloves reduce the impact of punches.

The fighters can withstand storms of punches, get a chance to show moves that entice the viewers and justify the buzz that the fight promoters create. 

So, Why Do Boxers Wear Gloves?

To sum it up, fighters wear gloves for 2 main reasons:

  • To save their own hands from injury.
  • For protection against cuts and scrapes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Boxers Fight Without Gloves?

In the past, around the 18th to 19th-century, fighters definitely fought without gloves. 

So, can boxers fight without wearing gloves today?

The answer is yes.

We have professional bare-knuckle boxers who, of course, fight with bare hands.

However,  fighting with bare hands is not accepted in professional boxing.

Do Boxing Gloves Do More Damage?

There are two sides to this question, as there are two sides to a coin.


Boxing gloves can do damage, and bare-knuckles can do damage too. 

So,  what kind or extent of damage can each boxing method do. 

Boxing with gloves allows a fighter to exert maximum force and still prevent hand injuries like broken wrists.

Hence, making potential damage to his opponent's head a matter of concern. 

As he fights with bare fists, a boxer would be more technical and most likely deliver hits to softer parts of his rival's body.

Still, the bare-knuckle fighter stands a chance of ending the match quickly with the extent of impact in his strike. 

While a boxer with gloves can damage the rivals's brain in the long term, the bare-knuckled boxer will damage his opponent's entire body and face in no time if he cares less about the dense skull. 

Do Boxing Gloves Hurt More Than Fists?

It is easy to decipher whether boxing gloves would hurt more than fists.

Check this out; when a boxer wears gloves and hits his opponent with them, the gloves distribute the punch's impact across a  larger surface than with bare fists.

This means that the strikes' force will also be distributed across a larger surface area —the gloves— first, before his fist and wrist. 

Are Boxing Gloves Necessary?

The necessity of boxing gloves is solely based on opinion.

Some boxing matches take place with little to no protection.

So why is professional boxing different?

Well, here is the argument for boxing gloves being necessary.

Imagine that there's an absolute rocker of a boxing match going on, something on the levels of Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield.

Then you arrive at the event just 10 minutes late only to find out that the event is rounding up.

The gist is that one of the fighters broke his wrists, and the match couldn't continue. An absolute buzz is reduced to almost nothing.

So are boxing gloves necessary? Yes, such scenarios have definitely been avoided with the protection of gloves, and mere wraps aren't sufficient. 

The cushioning effect of doing gloves provides support for the wrists. Also, the boxer can avoid breaking the fingers and thumbs. 


While the boxing gloves provide fighters with support on the hands.

It also helps to reduce the impact (not the force) on the opponent.

The impact and force of a punch are different because a bare-knuckle boxer might not hit with as much power as a gloved boxer.

Still, bare fist strikes hit a small area so that they have more impact on the opponent and potentially shorten the match's quality as regards the duration of the match and entertainment. 

In summary, to save the athlete from the impact of striking and the rival from the impact of receiving, some padding is necessary.

However, boxing gloves are a concern when it comes to brain damage.  Bare-knuckle fighters hardly hit the head.

Why? Because the skull is a protective organ with high bone density.

But with gloves, a boxer can care less and deliver strikes to the head.

It seems safe since the impact of the strikes is less and cuts to the face are less too. However, there could be an onset of brain injuries sooner or later in the athlete's life; take Muhammed Ali, for example. 

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