Boxing gloves are cushioned gloves that fighters wear on their hands during boxing matches. The term also refers to gloves used in training, though these often differ from competition gloves. Modern boxing gloves were developed to protect the hands of the striker during a bout (as opposed to the ancient cestus, developed as a weapon), though specialized gloves are now available for competitions, sparring practice and other types of training. The use of modern boxing gloves typically results in fewer superficial facial injuries but does not reduce the risk of brain damage for participants, and may even increase it because of the ability to throw stronger punches to the head without hurting the hands.
Boxing gloves come in different styles and weights, and are often worn over hand wraps, which help stabilize the fist area against injuries such as the eponymous boxer's fracture of the fifth metacarpal. Speed gloves are relatively light vinyl or leather mittens primarily designed to protect the athlete's hands against scrapes and contusions when doing very light "bag work" such as on a stand-mounted speed bag. Bag gloves are cushioned to protect the athlete against the progressively heavier focuses of striking other punching bags; these are the gloves most recommended by trainers for all boxing training, especially for non-sparrers. Sparring gloves are designed to protect both athletes during practice bouts. Professional fight gloves are also designed to protect both athletes, but are generally less padded. Sparring gloves may range from 14 oz to 20 oz, while bag gloves, amateur and professional fight gloves range from 8 to 10 ounces. In competition gloves are laced up and then sealed with tape before the match. The tape is then signed by an official to ensure that it is not tampered with. However training gloves usually use velcro rather than laces so that athletes can more easily get their gloves on and off.