Boxing Gloves VS MMA Gloves | The Differences

Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Alex PT

Boxing gloves are heavily padded, covering the entire hand, wrist, and fingers. They weigh 8 to 16 ounces. MMA gloves are fingerless and lighter, weighing 4 to 6 ounces, offering more dexterity and enabling grappling techniques.

Boxing Gloves vs. MMA Gloves: What’s The Difference?

Boxing gloves and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) gloves are essential pieces of equipment for fighters in their respective sports. While both serve the purpose of protecting the hands and providing some level of wrist support, there are several key differences between these two types of gloves. Below, I’ll outline these differences in detail and provide a comparative table for a clearer understanding.

Boxing Gloves:

  1. Design: Boxing gloves are designed specifically for the sport of boxing. They are larger, with padding that covers the entire hand, including the fingers and thumb.
  2. Padding: Boxing gloves have more padding compared to MMA gloves, with a focus on protecting the knuckles and reducing the impact on opponents during sparring and fights.
  3. Wrist Support: They offer substantial wrist support and are often equipped with laces or Velcro straps for a secure fit.
  4. Hand Mobility: Due to their size and padding, boxing gloves restrict hand and finger mobility, which is ideal for boxing but not suitable for grappling or groundwork.
  5. Purpose: Boxing gloves are exclusively used in the sport of boxing for striking and punching.

MMA Gloves:

  1. Design: MMA gloves are designed to be more versatile, catering to the diverse demands of mixed martial arts. They are smaller and expose the fingers and thumb, allowing for greater dexterity.
  2. Padding: While MMA gloves do have padding, it is more minimal compared to boxing gloves. The padding focuses on protecting the knuckles, not the entire hand.
  3. Wrist Support: MMA gloves provide less wrist support than boxing gloves. They typically have Velcro straps for quick adjustments but offer limited wrist stability.
  4. Hand Mobility: MMA gloves prioritize hand mobility and grip, making them suitable for grappling, clinching, and ground work in addition to striking.
  5. Purpose: MMA gloves are used in mixed martial arts, where fighters need to transition between striking, grappling, and ground-and-pound techniques.

Comparative Table:

AspectBoxing GlovesMMA Gloves
DesignLarger, covering the entire handSmaller, exposing fingers and thumb
PaddingMore extensive, protecting the handMinimal, focusing on knuckle protection
Wrist SupportSignificant, with laces or VelcroLimited, often with Velcro straps
Hand MobilityRestricted hand and finger mobilityEnhanced hand mobility and grip
PurposeExclusively for boxingUsed in mixed martial arts

Do Boxing Gloves Or MMA Gloves Do More Damage?

The question of whether boxing gloves or MMA gloves do more damage is a complex one. Both types of gloves have their own characteristics and can potentially cause harm, but the extent of damage they inflict depends on various factors. Here are the details:

Boxing Gloves:

  1. Impact Concentration: Boxing gloves are designed to distribute the force of a punch more evenly across the knuckles and fingers. The padding is thicker and covers a larger area of the hand, which can reduce the likelihood of causing cuts or superficial damage to the opponent.
  2. Protection for the Wearer: The extensive padding of boxing gloves not only helps protect the opponent but also provides greater protection for the wearer’s hands and wrists. This can result in boxers throwing harder punches with less fear of injuring their own hands.
  3. Cumulative Damage: In a prolonged boxing match, the cumulative effect of repeated blows with boxing gloves can be detrimental to an opponent, leading to brain trauma and other injuries over time.

MMA Gloves:

  1. Impact Concentration: MMA gloves have less padding and are designed to allow more precise striking. This means that the force from a punch is concentrated over a smaller area, often the knuckles, potentially causing more damage in terms of localized impact.
  2. Grappling and Ground-and-Pound: MMA gloves are used in a sport that involves not only striking but also grappling, clinching, and ground-and-pound. The smaller, open-finger design makes it easier to grip an opponent and deliver powerful strikes in close quarters.
  3. Potential for Cuts: Due to the exposed fingers, MMA gloves can lead to cuts and abrasions on the opponent’s face, especially during ground-and-pound situations.

The Impact of Damage:

The extent of damage inflicted by either type of glove depends on various factors, including the skill and technique of the fighter, the force behind the strikes, the target area, and the duration of the fight. In MMA, the versatility of the gloves allows for more diverse techniques, and the potential for damage depends on the fighter’s strategy.

It’s also worth noting that MMA fighters have the option to use both striking and submission techniques, which can minimize the reliance on pure striking power. In contrast, boxing is primarily a striking sport, and the emphasis is placed on powerful punches.

Boxing Gloves 

Boxing gloves are well-padded and cushioned gloves that boxers wear on their hands during practice and professional boxing matches. During a fight with bare knuckles, a fighter’s hands, and opponent’s head are exposed to serious injuries. But that’s not the case with modern-day boxing gloves. Boxing gloves are non-lethal and designed to offer protection to the fighter’s hand and the opponent’s head during a match. 

Boxing gloves were invented by Jack Broughton, who many consider as the father of boxing. In 1773, he invented the modern-day boxing gloves to knock off the bare-knuckle fighting manner of boxing. However, not until gloves were mandated in 1867 by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, did some boxers still prefer to fight with bare knuckles. It was towards the end of the 1890s that modern-day gloves started getting widespread and widely accepted. Back then, boxing gloves were made with six-ounce horsehair with a certain amount of gauze. It was really a bad composition as boxers tend to break the bones of their hand long before they even do damage to an opponent’s face or brain. In the olden days gloves were quite a lethal weapon. A pair of boxing gloves is a really good investment since it can last one to three years depending on how much you train. Cheaper gloves aren’t preferable for a heavy hitter or advanced striker as they won’t last over a year.  Even as a new boxer, taking a glimpse at boxing gloves you can tell that they are thicker than Mixed Martial Arts gloves. Since boxing is a sport that exposes your knuckles and hands to a lot of repeated abuse, it is quite reasonable why boxing gloves are well padded. In boxing, you don’t need to grapple with your opponent so you won’t have to pay for the cause of padding your punches a little bit more. A standard boxing glove has 6 centimeters worth of padding compared to a standard MMA glove with just two centimeters worth of padding. Also, there’s a wide and bigger striking area on the knuckle of a standard boxing glove. Although much padding can quite add to the overall weight in one hand, it requires a lot more energy to get it going. However, we loved two major things about boxing gloves – more pads and a bigger area on the knuckles. 

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Gloves 

MMA gloves are fairly padded, small, and open-fingered gloves that MMA fighters wear for practice and professional games. These gloves are equipped with around four to six ounces of padding to deliver protection to a fighter leaving the open-fingers for grappling maneuvers like submissions and clinch fighting. Concerning when the first MMA gloves were seen or used, the Kempo gloves in the 1973 “Enter the Dragon” movie are similar to the first MMA gloves.  These first gloves were originally designed to allow fighters to make vital moves while also getting protection. The modern-day MMA gloves are now modified to feature more protective padding around the knuckles. The small padding provided does a really great job of staying put and rigid. The padding of MMA gloves moves with it instead of being circulated over a big area, thanks to the combination of a Velcro strap on the wrists and individual fingers. As an MMA fighter, your hands are well protected after each strike with the stiffer padding integrated into the gloves. Overall, MMA gloves are denser and more stable padding but have a small area of protection and less use of wraps. 

Generally, if you put the two types of gloves together, you’ll notice that there are great differences in their lengths. Boxing gloves are longer than MMA gloves. 

Can MMA Gloves Be Used For Boxing? 

No! It is inappropriate and illegal to use MMA gloves for boxing. To do boxing practice or participate in a professional tournament, you’ll need well-padded heavy bag gloves which are legally allowed for boxing practice and tournaments. These gloves are designed to protect your hands and wrists from the high impact of punches. 

Is There A Major Difference Between Boxing Gloves and Kickboxing Gloves? 

The major difference between kickboxing gloves and boxing gloves is that kickboxing entails the use of both hands and feet while boxing only allows the use of hands. Also, boxing focuses on blocks and punches while kickboxing involves kicks, blocks, and punches. 

Closing Thoughts 

Your personal preference and the sport you play in will determine the type of gloves you end up buying, whether boxing or MMA gloves. We’ve come to the end of this blog post. We hope that this article helped you find resources in your quest to know the difference between boxing gloves and MMA gloves. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments. Thanks!


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