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Boxing gloves are cushioned gloves that fighters wear on their hands during boxing matches and practices. Unlike "fist-load weapons" (such as the ancient cestus) which were designed as a lethal weapon, modern boxing gloves are non-lethal, designed to protect both the opponent's head and the fighter's hand during a bout. Sparring and other forms of boxing training have their own specialized gloves.
The impact of gloves on the injuries caused during a fight is a controversial issue. Hitting to the head was less common in the bare-knuckle era because of the risk of hurting the boxer's hand. Gloves reduce the number of cuts caused, but British Medical Association research has stated that gloves do not reduce brain injuries and may even increase them, because the main cause of injury is acceleration and deceleration of the head, and fighters wearing gloves are able to punch harder to the head. Gloves may reduce the amount of eye injuries, especially if they are thumbless, but retinal tears and detached retinas still occur to boxers wearing modern gloves.
One non-peer-reviewed study has estimated the risk of death from bare-knuckle boxing at 14,000 deaths per million participants. This is 184 times more deaths per million participants than for modern professional boxing, which has 76 deaths per million participants (according to the same study). Data for the number of fights and deaths from the bare-knuckle era is incomplete, and also that there were many differences in rules and medical care. Bare-knuckle boxing matches were usually fought until one fighter could not continue, with bouts sometimes lasting hours, and a few fighters dying after they were carried to their mark to restart the fight when they would otherwise have been unable to continue. (The London Prize Ring Rules later specifically stated that a fighter must "walk to his own side of the scratch unaided" (emphasis added) or lose the fight.) Bare-knuckle rules also allowed grappling and throws, and some deaths were caused by a fighter hitting his head on a stone or rail.
Weighted training gloves are sometimes used in order to add resistance to punching exercises. Such gloves standardly range between 1-3 kg. As their usage over time typically increases the boxer's strength in that range of movement, they are used to increase the speed and power of a punch; in order to achieve this, their usage may be alternated with normal unweighted punching practice. Care is taken that the muscular adaption for the weight does not negatively interfere with the normal punching action. Light dumbbells are sometimes used on a similar basis to weighted gloves.
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