"Boxing is booming. The [competitive boxing] shows are more of an event nowadays, a good night out." - middleweight titlist, James DeGale
July is almost upon us and with it comes the promise of keeping one's summer sporting resolutions, including that determination to finally start American boxing! As with all combat sports, you will want to equip yourself with all the right boxing gear before you can start full-contact boxing in a boxing ring or even sparring.
Boxing is a thriving pastime in the UK and enthusiasm for the sport has been steadily rising over the last few years. According to the Sport in England survey, more than 200,000 people in the UK were recorded as participating in boxing in 2016 alone.
The dream of becoming a boxer has begun to intrigue more and more sports fans and everyday gym goers with huge numbers of male and female sports practitioners across the UK turning their hands to boxing.
This is our mini-guide on how to acquire boxing training equipment for American Boxing.
Why Use Boxing Gear for Full-Contact Boxing?
“You don’t have to be in a boxing ring to be a great fighter. As long as you are true to yourself, you will succeed in your fight for that in which you believe.”
― Muhammad Ali
Like in all combat sports, protective training equipment is essential in boxing because - as the name suggests - it does not matter if you win or lose the match, your equipment will protect you.
Kickboxing is a type of boxing that involves kicks and punches but without leg contact. In other words, punches and kicks must be above the belt. Unlike Muay Thai, any strikes that hit below the belt are strictly prohibited in this form of boxing.
American kickboxing uses the same punch techniques as English boxing as well as adopting the use of feet as is done in martial arts where kicks can land on the opponent's head or chest.
Thus, the blows that your adversary receives can very often be quite violent, which is why it is necessary to wear boxing training equipment to protect oneself. This is equally true for amateur boxing practitioners participating in the sport for leisure as it is for professional boxers.
Boxing headgear, mouthguards, boxing gloves, a groin protector, shin pads and boxing trainers with foam padding (American boxing trainers) are the best boxing tools for an American boxing practitioner to have.
This sports equipment allows you to protect yourself from punches and kicks dished out by your opponent or sparring partner and also limit the impact of any strikes your adversary has to deal with. In essence, protective sporting equipment allows two boxing competitors to fight one another without suffering any life-threatening injuries.
Apart from protection, boxing gear also provides the wearer with comfort. Don't buy any boxing clothing or accessories in which you feel uncomfortable as that defeats the object!
As in all types of boxing – Savate, English boxing, Thai boxing, Chinese boxing, etc. - there are forbidden strikes but accidental strikes can still happen all the same. We are not just talking about accidental strikes from your adversary, boxers have even been known to accidentally punch themselves in the face! Boxing training is therefore not possible without at least the very minimum amount of boxing equipment.
Rest assured, no beginner level amateur boxer will be told to fight like a middleweight champion like F. Mayweather Jr. You should always progress gradually in your boxing training and go at your own pace to avoid injury.
Hence, when starting out in boxing it is advisable to begin by getting rid of a few prejudices that surround the boxing world - in amateur boxing training nobody is going to break your nose as there is no contact at all. Boxers at beginners' level hit only bear paw pads, punch pads or punch bags!
It is worth remembering that in most cases it is possible to get kitted out directly at your local boxing club or gym, which will obviously cost a lot less than buying individual boxing accessories from a specialist sports outlet.
American Boxing Gear: Essential Accessories
“In life and in a boxing ring, the defeat is not declared when you fall down. It is declared only when you refuse to get up”
― Manoj Arora,
In terms of clothing, American boxing practitioners should wear martial arts trousers (or boxing trousers) and foot protection, such as foam based shoes.
Male practitioners do not need to wear any upper body clothing and often take part in the sport bare-chested.
Kickboxing competitors wear a martial arts belt where the colour of the belt signifies the level that they have attained.
Kickboxing belts are graded in the following colours: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and black.
In the UK, belt colours can vary between boxing clubs according to local or individual club regulations and the grades of belts can sometimes even be more specifically defined, for example, white-yellow, orange-green or even different grades of one colour to categorise practitioners even further, such as grade 1-5 black belt.
Boxing Equipment UK: Gym Bags
The point of a gym bag especially for boxing is obviously to be able to put your full American boxing kit in one place so that you can carry your boxing accessories around with you without weighing yourself down too much or cluttering up your home.
You can find sports bags or gym bags large enough for your boxing kit in any reputable sports store.
Adidas is often the first brand that springs to mind when we think of going gym bag shopping but there are actually a number of brands - such as Everlast, Fairtex, King, Venum and Kwon - that are sold by a plethora of vendors and make equally good boxing kit bags.
Which brings us to the questions of how to choose?
Most importantly it is important to check that the bag has padded compartments or side mesh pockets.
Other important criteria to tick off your checklist are the size of the bag, the brand, the volume, the strength and durability and the material used.
In terms of cost, you will be able to find a product that matches your budget as boxing kit bags can range from £12.99 to £64.99 (Nike, Tatami Fightwear, Blitz, Body Power) if you shop at Fitness Superstore, Blitz, Made 4 Fighters, Amazon UK or Nike)
Headgear is compulsory for competitions, but optional for training. Even so, if you are boxing for leisure, headgear is recommended for full-contact boxing as it can be a very dangerous sport that has been known to cause brain damage through repeated strikes to the head over time. American boxing headgear protects the skull from blows to the head, especially when sparring with a partner.
There are several different brands for American boxing headguards, including Everlast, Fairtex, Venum, Twins, Adidas and Montana.
With online and high street sports stores such as Decathlon UK, Blitz, Newitts, Flight Equipment UK, Made 4 Fighters, Tuf Wear Direct and Amazon UK American boxing headguards range in price from £19.99 to £124.75 (Domyos, Adidas, Lonsdale, Title, Century).
You will be able to find a headguard best suited to you. Choose a headguard that feels best for you in terms of lightness, comfort, protection and robustness.
Doing full-contact boxing without a mouthguard is a bit like doing DIY without a hammer, tape measure or screwdriver. A mouthguard is absolutely crucial for American boxing in order to avoid injuring your jaw or teeth.
You would do well to buy a mouthguard that moulds to your teeth in a way that both protects them effectively and is comfortable. There are different types of mouthguards, including single, double and thermoformable mouthguards.
You can find mouthguards for boxing from the following vendors:
- Flight Equipment UK
- Made 4 Fighters
In terms of budget, prices can range from £2.00 to £55.00 depending on the brand and the vendor.
Boxing Gloves, Mitts and Inner Gloves
Would anyone really want to risk causing permanent damage to their wrist or metacarpal bones all in the name of boxing?
A pair of gloves is absolutely vital to avoid injuries, for boxing training and in order to get into shape and ready for the boxing ring.
Some of the most well-known boxing gloves makes out there are Venum, Montana, Fairtex, Twins and Adidas.
The price of boxing gloves and pads varies a lot from seller to seller, therefore we have not given an exhaustive list.
Using the site flightequipment.co.uk as an example (actually a specialist online sports and boxing retailer despite its name), the price of full-contact boxing gloves starts from £15.99 and goes up to £204.99.
At the sports superstore Decathlon – with its famous brand, Domyos - you can find boxing gloves starting from £7.99, which are ideal gloves for beginners who don't know for how long they will continue on their boxing journey.
Boxing gloves made of leather, synthetic leather or other faux leather, gloves with a drawstring fastening at the wrist or a large velcro one - whatever kind of boxing gloves you go for make sure you choose the ones that are the most comfortable for you.
Be sure not to get the wrong size either, remember boxing gloves are measured in ounces rather grams!
Shin Pads and Groin Protectors
Full-contact groin protectors will prove to be more useful than you think during your kickboxing sessions. Although strikes below the belt are not permitted according to American boxing rules, that does not mean you will be sheltered from an accidental kick or punch that lands on one of your body's more sensitive areas.
Should your opponent hit you below the belt during a boxing match they will be strongly penalised and given a stern warning, but that cannot soften the impact of an accidental hit. The damage has already been done.
An anatomically shaped groin protector can ultimately protect your genitalia.
Groin protectors can be found for between £7.49 and £158 with brands such as Shock Doctor, Title, Lonsdale, Adidas, Venum, Ergo and RDX.
It all depends on what level of American boxing practitioner you are and the quality of the equipment you use. For example, there is no use buying a £158 groin protector designed for professional use if you are only an amateur boxer just starting out.
Padded foot protection and shin pads are just one part of the array of boxing equipment you will need for full contact training.
Because you want to be able to aim easily and remain agile when kicking your opponent whilst protecting your leg from the shin right down to the toe and reducing your chances of suffering any bruising.
You should choose your foot protection according to your shoe size, the thickness of the foam padding and the price, which ranges from £10.99 to £69.95
RDX Sports sells very reasonably priced shin pads starting at under £15.
At certain sports retailers selling brands such as Fairtex and Venum, the price of shin pads can climb as high as £50 to £70.
More expensive shin pas are made of higher density foam, have large velcro double attachments and offer extra protection of the leg from the bottom of the tibia to the foot.
Remember that full-contact kickboxing is undertaken bare-chested by male practitioners; female practitioners should protect their chests with a chest protector consisting of two inner protective shells or cups instead of simply wearing a sports bra. Be sure to reduce the impact of blows to the chest at all costs!
Other Boxing Accessories for Full-contact Boxing
By now you have most likely already prepared some protective boxing headgear, a comfortable mouthguard, a good pair of boxing gloves and some quality shin pads, so worrying about suffering the full impact of a powerful uppercut punch from a beefy opponent is probably already a thing of the past!
However, your boxing kit is not quite complete just yet! We have not yet to discuss the sporting garments that you still need to know about, including kickboxing trousers and other accessories.
All American kickboxing practitioners wear trousers and sometimes also a coloured belt to reflect their current boxing grade.
In fact, training equipment for American boxing distinctly resembles that of standard boxing or Thai boxing. Apart from one item that is, of course. Rather than wearing boxing shorts, American boxing practitioners wear especially designed trousers.
You should be able to pick up a pair from your local boxing club, otherwise, you could always turn to the internet in your hour of sporting accessory need:
- Sports Direct (£10.50 to £12.99)
- Bytomic Martial Arts and Fitness (£1.66 to £37.49),
- Amazon UK (£7.30 to £57.37),
- Flight Equipment UK (£8.99 to £20.99)
Make sure that you choose the correct trouser length for your height and that the fabric is comfortable and breathable (made of polyester).
Punching Bag and Jump Rope
Lastly, punch bags and jump rope are the final must-have items of any kickboxer.
That precious tool for bodybuilding! Punch bags enable muscle strengthening and offer a high-quality cardio workout that helps you to increase your endurance levels.
If you are not a member of a boxing club, then a punching bag as part of your home gym can be the perfect item to help you unwind at home whilst building muscle mass and increasing the power of your punches.
To purchase a punching ball, punching bag or jump rope, get yourself to your local sports store, such as JD Sports, Sports Direct or Decathlon.
We recommend choosing a 'Spar Man', artificial spar partner or a punching bag that is freestanding or has a stand if you live in a rented apartment as you won't have to put any holes in the wall or ceiling and risk putting your rental deposit in jeopardy!
When it comes to cost, you can find the full range of punch bags online from £14.99 for a very basic piece of home equipment all the way to £219.00 for a professional one similar to the one in your local gym.
In order to help you properly master direct and hook punches and upper and mid leg techniques, we recommend choosing a punch bag that is made of synthetic leather and that has straps to guarantee that it is durable and will last for long periods of time and over long-term use.
Below is a table of comparison to give a quick overview of the American boxing equipment out there and the approximate cost of individual boxing accessories.
American boxing equipment might seem expensive, but bear in mind that it will help to get you in better physical shape and that it is truly priceless!
|Boxing Accessories||Brand||Price Range|
|American Boxing Kit Bag||Nike, Tatami Fightwear, Blitz, Body Power||£12.99 to £64.99|
|Kickboxing Trousers||Adidas, Nike||£1.66 to £57.37|
|Headgear||Domyos, Adidas, Lonsdale, Title, Century||£19.99 to £124.75|
|Mouthguard||Domyos, Venum, SafeJawz, Shock Doctor||£2.00 to £55.00|
|Shin Pads||Decathlon, Venum, Fairtex, Venum, RDX Sports||£10.99 to £69.95|
|Groin Protector||Shock Doctor, Title, Lonsdale, Adidas, Venum, Ergo and RDX||£7.49 and £158|
|Boxing Gloves||Everlast, Domyos, Fairtex, Venum, Title, Twins, Century||£15.99 and goes up to £204.99|
|Punch Bag||Lonsdale, RDX Sports, Bodypower, Everlast||£14.99 to £219.00|
Definitions: American Boxing and Boxing Equipment
As a beginner, you may or may not know that there is not just one form of boxing but actually many different boxing disciplines exist. The following are few definitions behind American boxing as a boxing discipline in its own right.
What is American Boxing?
A discipline with its roots in traditional English boxing, American boxing is a form of full-contact boxing that originated in the US in the late 1960's and 70's and later flourished under the influence of boxer, Joe Lewis (1944-2012).
Also known as kickboxing, it is a form of boxing that involves hitting with one's legs through punches and kicks. American boxing has a huge range of sport specific terminology to describe fighters, such as an outside fighter, a bleeder, a challenger and a champion.
What is Boxing Equipment?
Quite obviously, we know that it is equipment used for boxing. As in martial arts, it is necessary to acquire a whole set of boxing accessories that allow the user to avoid injury.
Before the 20th century, boxing was traditionally undertaken with bare hands and in clandestine environments as brawls or a means to settle a debt. There were large numbers of accidents, which led to regulations gradually being put in place to prevent them.
New national and international sporting regulations have been introduced, which dictate that protective boxing equipment (headgear, mouthguard, boxing gloves, boxing mittens, ankle supports and inner gloves) are obligatory for all practitioners. In addition, there are also a range of non-compulsory boxing accessories also available on the market for any budding American boxers, such as shin pads and boxing shoes.
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