The equipment boxers need for competition can seem obvious at first glance, but there are some things that newer fighters may not know or think to bring in their bag. Here is a list of the eight essentials I bring every single time I go to the gym or head to a boxing competition to provide a guideline for what you should be carrying in your gym bag. Even if you're not competing and sticking to an at-home boxing training program, you'll need many of these items, too!
8 Boxing Equipment Essentials
This is a pretty obvious one, but you should always bring your boxing gloves to a fight, even though most amateur boxers aren’t allowed to use gloves they brought from home. In amateur fights, boxers are given gloves for competition. This is to prevent glove tampering and to ensure both fighters have access to gloves of the same quality. Glove weight for amateur fights is 10-12 ounces, depending on the weight class (10oz below 165, 12 oz at and above). Since the competition gloves aren’t given to you until around 10 minutes before the fight, you should bring your own to warm up your reflexes properly.
Even if you aren’t fighting, a good, reliable pair of boxing gloves is an investment you’ll never regret. Also, do not just keep your gloves zipped up in your bag or they’ll start to stink. Let them air out when not using them, and be sure to keep them clean and conditioned. There are plenty of boxing glove deodorizers such as the one offered in the FightCamp Care Kit that comes with a storage bag as well.
My personal boxing training gloves are from Fairtex because the Thai style gloves thumb placement matches my hands more. I like to hang them in an area with a lot of light, usually on my banister. As for deodorizing, I’m old-fashioned and fill a dryer sheet with cornstarch and baking soda, and stuff that in my gloves, but the deodorizers you can get online are awesome! I’m just a creature of habit.
Another pretty obvious one, but you should always have a pair of good boxing shoes in your gym bag when heading into a fight. Boxing shoes help stabilize your ankles and give you traction in the ring. Here’s a tip: when you’re looking for a pair of boxing shoes, the sole of the shoe should be about a quarter inch thick, and when you run your hand along the sole, you should feel the tread but it shouldn’t catch on your hand. Your boxing shoes should also be easy to flex at the toe without anything more than a light push. This will ensure that you have enough mobility in your feet and toes to move and bounce.
My boxing shoes are a pair of Reeboks that have a bit more ankle stability and support than most. Since my left leg is a little weaker due to a childhood injury, I need to make sure I have extra support. I also like my shoes to be just a little grippier than normal since my boxing style involves a lot of “Ali-hopping” and shuffles--balance is imperative to me.
Hand wraps keep your hands stable and your wrists aligned during striking, and are absolutely essential for bag training, sparring, and competition. There are two main styles of hand wraps: quick wraps and traditional or ‘ribbon’ wraps. Quick wraps are padded, fingerless gloves you wear under your boxing gloves that strap at the wrist. Traditional hand wraps are long strips of cloth, usually cotton or polyester, that you wrap in a pattern around your hand to stabilize your wrist and protect your knuckles. Both types of hand wraps are effective, and it is mostly up to personal preference.
My personal preference is traditional hand wraps as I find them a bit more customizable. I actually wrap my left and right hands with different methods because my left hand strikes significantly harder than my right, and due to my Southpaw stance, the thumb of my right hand gets caught on my opponent’s guard often and can get wrenched, so I give it extra support.
Image Credit: Duke Cannon
A boxer’s hands are his paycheck, and we work very hard to protect them. The skin on my knuckles tends to crack and rip when it's cold outside because of the impact of striking, so I carry hand cream in my bag to keep that from happening and keep my fists healthy. If you also have that problem or just want some awesome hand repair cream, you can find the brand I use here. That being said, if you do wrap your hands properly, your knuckles shouldn’t crack, but my hands are always dry, especially in the winter, so I use cream as a precaution.
It's common courtesy to bring your own towel to a boxing match. A towel is good for keeping your face fresh and for cleaning up after a match (or an extra hard boxing workout).
Change of clothes
This isn’t as obvious as you might think. One real danger of matches is that your fight outfit (usually a tank top and shorts) won’t be approved for some reason. Sometimes it can be because the colors blend too much with your waistband so the referee can’t clearly see the foul line. It's important to have a set of backup clothes to change into. Plus, it's nice to be able to change into clean clothes after an exhausting workout or match.
Image Credit: Title Boxing
Mouth guards keep your teeth and tongue safe from impact and reduce concussion risk during a fight. A high-quality mouth guard can be the difference between an ER visit and making it through a fight without mouth injury, so investing in one is key. The biggest tip I can give here is do not use a double mouth guard, or a mouth guard that has a layer for both sets of teeth with a breathing slit in the middle. The reason for this is that when you get hit, your saliva starts to thicken and can make it very hard to breathe through the holes in a double mouth guard.
Probably one of the most important things I have in my bag and with me in the ring is water. Hydration is key, whether or not you are training or fighting, having enough water will ensure that both your body and your mind are ready for whatever comes.
These are the eight items I have to have with me when I step into the gym to feel prepared for whatever is thrown at me (literally!), and roll with the punches like I always do. What are some things you pack for your workout that I missed? Let us know what’s in your gym bag! Tag @fightcamp on Instagram, and be sure to check out our YouTube Channel and Blog for all the latest boxing tips, training, and workouts!
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What Are The Best Boxing Shoes?
How To Care For Your Boxing Wraps and Gloves
How To Start Boxing Competitively
Life of a Boxer: How a Boxer Trains To Fight