Choices of equipment can become synonymous with certain fighters. It’s hard to imagine Juan Manuel Marquez without him wearing his trademark Cleto Reyes gloves. Floyd Mayweather pretty much exclusively used Grants. Seeing as equipment choices are of growing interest to the boxing community, I thought I would take a break from writing opinion pieces to quickly go over the equipment that I use when I train. Obviously I’m no Marquez or Mayweather, but I’ve used quite a lot of different pieces of gear over the years, and listed below are my favourites.
(disclaimer: these are items that have worked best for me, and are my personal preference)
This one is simple. My favourite boots are the Adidas Mat Wizards, which I bought for around £85. Many boots I’ve used before have been near-perfect, but have had one or two problems that ultimately let them down. These ones for me are flawless; they’re breathable, they have great grip, they’re light and springy and have support in all the places I need it. They have a nice, bouncy heel cup and good cushioning under the toes. Previously, I have had problems with blisters around my toes from constantly springing in and out, but have had no such issues at all with this boot. It’s held together extremely well, and is as good as new nearly a year after I bought them. Whenever these are done with, rather than try something new, I’ll just replace them like for like.
Unless it’s hard sparring, I prefer to not wear headguards. I don’t find them comfortable; in fact they make my head and shoulders feel really heavy and restrict my movement. When I do wear one, I use an Adidas AIBA Style Training Headguard, which I don’t particularly like, or a ProBox Super Spar, which I don’t mind. These ones aren’t especially elaborate but they do the job just fine. Having suffered an injury to my jaw in the past, I normally go with the Super Spar, as it has extra cushioning for those areas, allowing me to feel more confident when things get a little rougher. If I didn’t find them so cumbersome, I would actually like to invest in a proper headguard like the standard Cleto Reyes Headguard with cheek protectors.
There are several options here. First of all, I am not someone who needs the intricate detail and brilliance of a Grants, or Amir Khan’s custom Reeboks. If it’s comfortable and can last around a year to 18 months, then that will do me just fine. I’ve separated my gloves into 2 categories, lace ups and velcro, as I use both at different times, depending on what I’m doing in the gym.
I have two that I use regularly. The Pound4Pound Green and Silvers are fantastic gloves. I often find that laced gloves extend too far down over the wrists for my liking, but these ones wear their cuffs a little shorter, giving it the feel of a velcro glove. As a result, there’s loads of padding over the top of the knuckles, making them good all rounders, although I like to use these for sparring and for work on the heavy bag. The others I have are Paragons, which are more of a ‘traditional’ lace up glove. Based loosely on the high-end Grants glove, they extend much further down the wrist, allowing the padding to shift away from the knuckles and be spread around a bit. This makes them great for body sparring and pad work. They’re 16oz, but they feel as compact and as lean as 14oz gloves, and are the ones I currently use most often.
I use velcros for when I train at unsociable hours or on my own, when there isn’t someone around to help me lace up. I have a particular soft spot for my ProBox Originals. They’re basic, they’re cheap and they’re starting to fall apart, but quite simply, they just feel right. I use them for literally anything, from sparring to technical drills, and seeing as they are only about £45 they have lasted an awfully long time. When doing conditioning I switch to my Lonsdale 16oz I-Cores: big, chunky things I only use for the heavy bag. I don’t like using these for sparring or pads – they’re too bulky, but when it comes to strength work they’re indestructible, and show practically no signs of wear and tear. They have a strange double-strap system that makes tightening them a bit awkward, and if your hands aren’t wrapped properly they can feel a little roomy, but they certainly make you work hard. Recently however, I’ve just bought a pair of Rival RS10V sparring gloves, and so far, I haven’t needed to use the others. A comfy fit, well dispersed padding and a ventilated palm, these are proving to be my default choice.
Evolution Fightwear wraps, Nike running shoes, speed rope, gumshield.