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Using 8 Ounce Gloves for Sparring?

August 31, 2016


If you have been around muay thai or boxing long enough you will have heard about using 14-16oz gloves are the “norm” for sparring. Ideally this is true. You can get roughed up enough in practice especially when doing hard sparring and using the proper gear is paramount. So when people see my gloves that i use for most of my sparring they say “hey are those 8oz gloves? your going to hurt someone.” So i thought i would shed some light on the uses of 8oz gloves.


I like to use 8 ounce gloves for sparring, It doesn’t mean i solely use 8’s for sparring because i do use 16’s as well, but in many circles this is a big “no – no.” My reasoning behind the use of 8 ounce gloves is that they are much smaller than the 16 ounce gloves and makes defense much more than just hiding behind these big pillows. 16 ounce gloves  bigger than the standard 10 ounce that you will be fighting with. so many people “shell up” with the 16’s that it is almost impossible to punch through them, either with straight punches or finding holes with the hook. Because the 8’s are so much smaller they force you to have a very tight defense. Using the 8’s forces my defense to be much tighter and to use other defensive tools such as slipping, parries, and foot work to avoid punches. This is even more true if you also fight MMA or something like “caged muay thai.” whats the sense of training defense with big 16’s when you fight with basically bag gloves on your hands. You can not rely on those big pads in MMA.


A second note on sparring with 8 ounce gloves is that I recognize the fact that i am using a much smaller glove. For me, I use more of a kicking style than punching and do not consider myself a “power puncher.” Also when i spar I go very light (50%-70% power) and even lighter with my punches. If you are a punch dominate fighter and have control issues, I do not recommend using 8’s. You could use 8’s or even MMA gloves and just do a few rounds of all defense. A good rule of thumb is “do you hurt your training partners?” You should know already if you are a “hard spar” type of person. Also this is more of an intermediate to advanced training tool. you should have lots of control over your punches so that you do not just swing wildly with your punches or overpower your training partners.


Lastly, check with your coach. Explain why you want to use smaller gloves to him. If he disagrees with you, then you should respect his wishes and stick to the 14-16 ounce gloves. Im sure though no coach would disagree if you used much smaller gloves and agreed to only use defense. This is a personal choice for me and doesn’t mean it goes for everyone. I have had some coaches think its brilliant, some who just didn’t care and others say “as long as you are not busting people up, go right ahead.” experiment with the idea and see if it helps with your defense. Again, i cant emphasis it enough, go light in sparring. Do not break your “toys.” training partners are hard to come by and good training partners are even harder to come by.


PS: I do not like to use bag gloves on the heavy bag. At the same time, hitting the heavy bag with the big 16 oz gloves does not really give my forearms and hands the conditioning that bag gloves provide. So my personal solution has been to use 8 ounce gloves as my bag gloves. Now there has been some improvements in bag gloves over the years. I remember my first pair of bag gloves were these Everlast leather gloves that had a piece of lead or metal in the grip. These were pretty much just leather sheaths to cover your hands. Add to it a bit bulky hand wrap job and they can be almost impossible to get on your hands. They also offered zero wrist support so it made wearing wraps a must. Using an 8 ounce glove I felt gave me more wrist support and were a bit more accepting to a solid hand wrap job.


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