Boxing has always been popular in the army, with the combination of fitness, martial prowess and a healthy outlet for aggression appealing to those in the service. Boxing during the Second World War was taken seriouslky by both competitors and spectators, but remained an amateur sport, with pugilists limited to six rounds in the ring. Whilst training for bouts was always secondary to a man’s service commitments, it was still taken seriously and men were provided with training aids to help get them ready for the ring. Tonight’s object is a set of British Army bag or training boxing gloves (my thanks to Adam Heaton for helping identify them as boxing is not something I know much about):The gloves are made of leather, with a large pad over the knuckles:Unlike boxing gloves used in the ring, these have open fingers:At the rear of each glove is a set of laces:These allow the glove to be tightened and secured to the wrist:The 1945 guide ‘Games and Sports in the Services in India’ offers boxing coaches the following advice about gloves:
Never lace the gloves too tightly, it may stop circulation; always tie laces on the back of wrist and tuck in loose ends securely.
The gloves have ribbing across the back to help support the wearers wrists and tendons:These gloves each have a label inside dating them to 1939 and with a W/|\D stamp:The same Indian Army pamphlet explains something of the use of these gloves for hitting a punch bag:
As for ball punching. The bag represents an opponent’s target, and training with it is to develop a man’s punching power- especially body punching- and correct hitting. Exactly the same principles apply as when ball punching. Punch ball gloves or knuckle pads should be worn when training with both these articles.
These gloves are remarkably well made and an unusual and interesting addition to my collection- as ever I am amazed at the variety of military items out there to find.