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Why Do Boxers Wrap Their Hands?

Last Updated: 16.05.22


If you are interested in boxing and what boxers use to protect their hands, the following lines will provide detailed information on the topic, so you might want to check it out here. As you may already know, boxing is a combat sport, that involves a ring and two people throwing punches at each other for a limited amount of time, while wearing protective gloves.

A boxing game consists of a specific number of rounds that the boxers will fight for. The result is determined by at least one of the three possible ways. Either one of the boxers is deemed incapable of continuing the match by the referee or his cornerman (a KO or throwing in the towel, respectively), an opponent breaks the rules thus being disqualified, or the winner is declared based on a scoring system that relies on judges.

Boxing dates back as far as Ancient Greece, which is where the first evidence of boxing rules was found. Also, Ancient Greeks had included boxing in their Olympic Games as far back as 688 BC. This unique combat sport has developed over time, especially in Great Britain, evolving from the 16th-century prizefights to what it is today.

Boxers are required to use special boxing gear that includes, firstly, boxing gloves together with special hand wraps and special shoes, that improve the boxer’s stability. All these gear items are intended to protect the boxer. The gloves feature a thick layer of padding, thus absorbing some of the shock waves of the boxing hits. Keeping their hands protected is of utmost importance to both amateur and professional boxers.


A bit of boxing history

This challenging combat sport that rose from illegal venues and prize-based fights has become a multi-billion industry, generating both profits and significant role models for teenagers nowadays. The self-discipline and toughness required by boxing make a good example of how a sport can build a person’s character. But how did boxing evolve along the way?

1867 was an important year to boxing all over the world since that was when the first boxing rules were created. It all happened in England when the Marquess of Queensberry rules were drafted by John Chambers for amateur championships that took place in London. The rules addressed all three weight categories: lightweights, middleweights, and heavyweights.

Twelve rules were printed then, and they stated most of the guidelines still followed today in boxing. The size of the boxing ring, the amount of time a fight round could last for, the 10 second knockout time, the size and type of boxing gloves to be used, were all part of the rules Chambers had created under the patronage of the Marquess of Queensberry. Also, wrestling was completely forbidden in a boxing fight.

Throughout the 19th century, boxing was still a sport that was barely legal in most countries. In the United States, prize fights were held at gambling venues and they were most often broken up by police, as they were quite common.

Also, it was during this time that bare-knuckle championships were created, and they began gaining popularity because of the sophisticated techniques they were developing. In the early 20th century, boxers were gaining more and more popularity, and this all happened with the aid of promoters, such as Ted Rickard.

It was during this time that boxing became legal, to a certain extent, as a combat sport. Shows were promoted and held across the nation, gathering more fans every time. The popularity of great champions, such as John L. Sullivan, also aided the development of boxing since fans were gathering in large numbers to see the shows.

What is hand wrapping?

A hand wrap, also called a wrist wrap, is a piece of material, usually cotton based, that is used to protect the user’s hand and wrist, during combat, against punching-induced injuries. Usually, the material used to make the hand wraps is not elastic, except Mexican-style hand wraps, which are slightly elastic, making them very popular among boxers.

The way these useful items are used can make the difference between keeping your hands safe or risking injuries of all sorts. To properly use hand wraps the boxer needs to wrap it securely around the wrist, the palm of his hand, and around the thumb. By doing so, the person using it makes sure that the alignment of the hand and joint is kept, as well as, compressing against the soft tissue, thus lending it strength.

The hand wrap is meant to protect against some of the most common types of potential injuries associated with boxing, such as sprains and fractures. For instance, it keeps the wrist joint aligned when the impact of a punch is absorbed by the wrong part of the hand. The hand wraps also strengthen the metacarpus, therefore significantly reducing the risk of metacarpal fracture, also known as “the boxer’s fracture”.

Wrist and hand wraps are used to compress and strengthen the bone structure and soft tissues of the hand. Scientists claim that by compressing the hand like that, boxers are likely to punch their opponents with greater force than otherwise. Boxers claim they feel less pain while punching; therefore their opponents may feel a lot more pain.

Each boxer has a wrapping method that he prefers, based on his experience and, also, on the situation. Variations may lead to more thumb support, wrist support or padding on the knuckles. Also, the boxer can choose how much fabric to use within the fist. However, some competition rules may restrict the type and amount of material each boxer is allowed to use. Each fighter is given a limited amount of tape and gauze that could be divided and rolled in various ways, according to each fighter’s preference.


Why is keeping your hands safe so important?

Human hands were not designed to throw punches around, they are designed for grasping. This means that boxing without any sort of protection may lead to serious injuries. The bad part of hand fractures is that they take a long time to heal and the boxer may be left with a sensitive area where the fracture was. Prevention is always better than treatment.

Properly adjusting the hand wraps is another important aspect of keeping the hands safe. There are many ways in which a boxer can adjust his wrap, and they all depend on the situation and the type of gloves that are used. In some cases, the wrap has to be very tight as it will loosen during the fight; in other cases, the wrap has to be slightly looser, to match the type of boxing gloves the fighter uses.  

Recently, some type of soft padded fingerless gloves has become available on the market that are an alternative to traditional hand and wrist wraps. They come with the advantage of being very easy to put on and take off, making it a lot less time-consuming process than using the old fashioned materials. However, fighters using them claimed they will not protect your hands as much as regular wraps do. And also, they may not be allowed in some competitions.

The issue of properly adjusted hand wraps, as well as which wrapping techniques are better suited in different situations, are some of the first things that any young boxer will learn. Together with balance and how to move the feet, hand wrapping techniques are basic knowledge in this highly appreciated combat sport.

Professional boxing

There is a big difference between amateur and professional boxing. The training used, as well as many of the techniques that are being used are different for each type of boxing. A professional boxing match will have ten to twelve round, as opposed to amateur boxing which has considerably fewer rounds.

Also, headgear is not allowed in professional boxing, and the fighters will be allowed considerably more damage before the fight is halted than in amateur boxing. In professional boxing, unlike in amateur fights, fighters are allowed to be bare-chested.




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