"The fight for protecting animals is basically the same as the one for protecting men."
Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987).
The animal may have similar reflexes to that of the human - flight, dodge, guard, attack - when in danger, but for animals, fighting is a struggle for survival. With man, boxing, for example, is a simulated game.
The human being wears protective headgear and boxing gloves during a boxing fight against his opponent while the animal "boxes with bare hands..."
Contact sports - such as boxing, French boxing, full contact, MMA boxing, kickboxing, Thai boxing and other mixed martial arts (such as taekwondo, aikido, kung fu, karate, jujitsu, krav maga, viet vo dao, etc.) - can be violent, and good protection is needed to avoid injuries - whether it is in relation to amateur or pro boxing.
Whether they are beginners or competitors boxers must wear boxing equipment good enough to limit the impact of their opponent's punches and kicks, they must also have a good level of durability:
- Boxing gloves, mittens, under-gloves or training gloves,
- Boxing shoes,
- Shin pads,
- Teeth protection/ mouthguard,
- Elbow guard,
- Hand wraps or wrist wraps,
- Knee guard,
- Ankle guard,
- And headgear.
Depending on the type of boxing you do there may also be specific equipment such as kickboxing gloves or Mma gloves.
Wearing a boxing helmet and sparring gloves is obligatory in amateur boxing competitions as well as by professionals during their boxing training.
This is what we will focus on in this article: optimal protection and what helmet to choose amongst the many we can choose from (foam padding, high density fabric, quality of the chin guard, protecting the cheekbones, etc.).
Here's information on why you should wear a boxing helmet, how to choose it, where to get it and at what price.
What is a Boxing Head Guard Used For?
Much like American football or cycling, the reason one wears a helmet should be obvious. It is to protect the face and the cranium against weighted blows.
In amateur or pro boxing, the helmet is used for all ages.
Blows to the face - especially in boxing, full contact or mixed martial arts (MMA) - are so bad that they can often cause fractures, head trauma and brain damage.
The helmet allows for protection of the face but cannot protect against bruises.
During a major impact, the brain will "slip" into the skull causing damage the brain tissue, the connections between cells, or the blood vessels to rupture.
Even with a full-protection helmet, a boxer can lose consciousness by receiving a kick or an uppercut to the jaw or in the eyes. This is called the knockout or K.O.
Most helmets are open and meant to protect the cheekbones, surround the skull and are secured by a chinstrap.
With this accessory, the boxer is protected against blows or combat techniques that could hurt him: a good helmet does not slip, "sticks to the skin", and softens the blows.
For the record, wearing helmets in international amateur boxing competitions is no longer required since the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (2013).
The leaders of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) have asked for the removal of the protective helmet saying it had become a prime target of boxers: without protection, competitors would be less likely to aim this part of the body.
There's a way to go however before you compete in the Olympics.
Now you need to know where to buy your helmet...
How to Choose Your Boxing Helmet
Before rushing to a sports equipment shop, it is important to remember a few things: a poorly fitted helmet will be of no use to the wearer.
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It could even be the reason why you lose a first fight.
The Helmet's Wear
A good helmet can be used for a good ten years, even fifteen if your head does not get bigger.
You will quickly understand that buying a helmet of quality the first time around will spare you having to buy one every year.
The Size of the Head Guard
Protective equipment chosen hastily may hurt the boxer. If the helmet is too big, it will compress the boxer's head and be difficult to box.
Worse, it can be painful if it is too narrow.
Conversely, if the boxing protection is too wide it will be bothersome. Would you like it if, with every punch, your helmet flipped around and made it impossible for you to see your opponent?
Another criterion to consider: the helmet's lining. It can't be too soft. Or too harsh.
A boxing helmet is like a pair of boxing gloves or a punching bag: its size must be adapted to its owner.
The Helmet's Chin Strap
This is the loop situated under the jaw. Again, if the strap is loose or the velcro is not strong, the helmet will move and you will not necessarily have time to tighten in the middle of the fight.
If the strap is tight, you might feel like you are being strangled, which can be even more uncomfortable.
The Helmet's Visibility
Putting on a helmet does not mean you won't see anything.
In fact, you need to make sure you see your opponent arrive, dodge, and hold his guard in order to punch back and counterattack.
A protective boxing helmet needs to be wide enough and have you see what is going on.
The Interior Padding of the Boxing Helmet
It is important to take into account the thickness of the padding inside the helmet. If the foam is too thin, your helmet will be next to useless.
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A high-density foam will allow the helmet to mold to the shape of the skull after several weeks of use, but the foam will not make it through the year.
Ultra-light fabric will maybe feel better and less cumbersome, but it won't help you with blows.
The Helmet's Looks
Everyone has different tastes. You may want a black helmet while your friend feels set on red.
You will have to juggle between cost and taste when choosing your perfect helmet.
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Where to Find Your Protective Headgear and For How Much
This is where we come to the heart of the issue. Money.
Remember: it's better to pay 100 pounds for a helmet that will last five or ten years, than a 20 pound helmet you will have to buy every year for that same amount of time.
Much like bodybuilding equipment, there are a number of different brands to look at when buying shin guards, boxing shoes, a jumprope, or a chest guard.
If you feel a little lost, here are some ways you can buy your boxing helmet:
- Through online boxing equipment sellers,
- Ads on Facebook (ideal for buying used equipment, cheaper),
- In specialty stores in your city,
- Purchasing directly from your boxing club.
Here are some providers that can be found on the net:
The most common brands are the following: Metal Boxing, Everlast, Fairtex, Domyos, Venum, Lonsdale, Adidas, Elion, Montana, or Twins.
You will have to see whether the quality and value are good before buying your helmet.
If you are a novice boxer, you will obviously not have the same expectations as if you come into the boxing gym several times a week.
If you are a pro, the materials will matter and will range from polyester material, vinyl, leather, imitation leather, to ultralight polyurethane (UP), etc.
Anyway, entry-level helmets cost from 20-25 pounds, when bought with Domyos, Metal Box, or Lonsdale.
Mid-range helmets, which are for frequent use, will be around 40-50 pounds, with brands like Venum and Adidas.
For high-end helmets - mostly sold to competitors - the brands Everlast, Elion and Fairtex will have products at around 80-100 pounds or more.
|Décathlon||Domyos||Beginner||Polyurethane, polyester||19,99 - 34,99 pounds|
|Hadjime, Punch Equipment||Metal Box||Beginner to Intermediate||Polyurethane, EVA foam, synthetic||22,95 - 73,44 pounds|
|Amazon||Lonsdale||Beginner||Leather||22,31 - 56,58 pounds|
|Boxing-Shop.com, Amazon||Venum||Intermediate to Advanced||High Density, Leather||42,49 - 118,99 pounds|
|Boxing-Shop.com, Amazon, Punch Equipment||Adidas||Intermediate to Advanced||Synthetic leather, EVA foam, polyurethane||27,98 - 79 pounds|
|Sportscombat.com||Everlast||Intermediate to Pro||Leather, high density foam||34,19 - 80 pounds|
|Boxing-shop.com, Punch Equipment, Amazon||Fairtex||Pro, Competition||Leather, high density foam||109 pounds|
|Hadjmie, Punch Equipment, Amazon||Twins||Pro, Competitors||Leather||73,95 - 91,90 pounds|
Once you have a helmet you will no longer bring up boxing as being a violent sport, etc...
Read all you need to know about mouth guards...
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