What is the difference between horsehair and foam boxing gloves? Explanation of Khan and Brook’s glove dispute

BOXING often causes a lot of controversy and conflict, especially between some of the biggest stars in the sport during fight week.

This is exactly the case in the fight between Amir Khan and Kell Brook in Manchester.


Tyson Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder in their spectacular third fight.Credit: Reuters

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One particularly contentious part of the fight week is the choice of gloves, where both fighters and their respective camps will test and select the gloves they will use on fight night.

It’s often a smooth process, but as seen in Tyson Fury’s third fight with Deontay Wilder, it doesn’t always go smoothly.

Wilder had already made accusations about the legality of Fury’s gloves for their second fight in 2020, and the Bronze Bomber was not pleased when Fury chose the same glove style for the trilogy.

Fury has been known to wear horsehair gloves and Wilder has worn Styrofoam padding throughout his career and both options are legal.

But why do fighters care so much about choosing gloves? SunSport has compiled everything you need to know about one of the key formalities of fight week and the differences between the two types of gloves.

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What is the difference between horsehair and foam boxing gloves?

It sounds by itself – horsehair in one glove, foam rubber in the other.

But the use of horsehair in gloves, a tradition almost as old as the sport itself, has been a hotbed of controversy in recent years.

The horsehair padding gives the glove less protection for both your hands and your opponent’s face, so it favors those in the ring who consider themselves a knockout master or those with really heavy hands.

Horsehair gloves are durable, although they absorb sweat more easily, so the padding wears out faster than their foam relatives.

Horsehair gloves, dubbed the “puncher’s glove”, are often used by fighters with a Mexican style of fighting or those who are looking for stops in their fights, as Fury did against Wilder.

Fury wore signature Paffen gloves for both the rematch and the trilogy against Wilder, after he hired Cronk’s trainer Sugarhill Steward to teach him how to knock out the American.

Paffen gloves use horsehair padding, unlike most modern boxing gloves which use foam.

After their second fight, in which Wilder was stopped in seven rounds, the Alabama native complained that Fury’s gloves didn’t have enough padding and that Fury’s punches left a dent in his face.

Wilder usually wears Everlast Powerlock gloves, which use PVC foam and latex for padding.

Foam lined gloves have become more popular over the past two decades as they protect your hands and absorb shock better than horsehair gloves.

However, once Wilder learned that Fury would be using the same gloves for his trilogy, he decided to use Everlast MX instead, a mix of horsehair and foam to level the playing field.

Another fighter who opposed horsehair gloves was Floyd Mayweather, whose fight contracts often stipulated that his opponents were not allowed to use horsehair gloves.

It is known that Conor McGregor was banned from using horsehair in a fight back in 2017.

Floyd Mayweather And Canelo Alvarez Wore Grant'S Gloves During Their Fight In 2013.


Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez wore Grant’s gloves during their fight in 2013.Credit: Getty Images – Getty

And Marcos Maidana had to change his gloves from horsehair to foam in 2014 fight week after Mayweather walked away from a glove inspection, completely unimpressed by the Argentinian’s glove choice.

Maidana ended up donning the Grant-logoed gloves that Mayweather wore for most of his storied career.

Grant gloves are known as the best gloves on the market for those who want their hands to be as protected as possible, and they are the perfect fit for Mayweather, who often suffered from hand injuries.

The most famous brands of boxing gloves

  • Everlast – worn by Deontay Wilder, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence
  • Grant – worn by Floyd Mayweather, Gervonta Davis
  • Cleto Reyes – worn by Manny Pacquiao
  • Victory – worn by Naoya Inoue, Josh Warrington
  • Rival – worn by Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Vasily Lomachenko
  • puffin – worn by Tyson Fury
  • Adidas – worn by Daniel Dubois, Anthony Yarde
  • Fly – worn by Dillian Whyte, Lawrence Okoli.
  • No boxing, no life – worn by Canelo Alvarez

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