Guide to buying boxing gloves in Australia

Updated June 2019

The boxing glove market in Australia is a pretty dismal sight to behold. The gloves marketed by Australian brands are almost all generic models made with cheap materials and even cheaper labour in Pakistani (or sometimes Chinese) factories. They are stocked by Australian retail outlets alongside similarly generic models from global brands. In general, the price-to-quality ratios of both the Australian and global generic brands are unsatisfactory.

The Australian glove market is another case of what I call the Nguyen principle, in honour of its original propounder Johnny Nguyen at ExpertBoxing: 99% of the gloves out there are overpriced junk. The Nguyen principle holds with as much certainty in Australia as it does in the United States. It simply cannot be doubted, not even by a sceptic about the world of boxing like myself. The vast majority of gloves on the market in Australia are nothing but costly landfill.

Even so, the Australian glove market is not the US glove market. Australia’s population is relatively small and interest in the sport of boxing is low. The Australian dollar is often quite weak. And Australia doesn’t share a land border with any other country at all, let alone a country which manufactures many of the best gloves in the world (viz. Mexico, of course). Most guides to buying gloves are written for Americans and don’t straightforwardly apply to the Australian market.

So what is the best approach to buying training gloves in Australia?

The present guide is my answer to that question. It’s mostly based on my own experiences in the Australian glove market as both a boxer and a trainer. I’ve personally used or inspected many of the models put out by the major Australian and international brands. I’ve also personally used or inspected many of the better brands around, like Cleto Reyes, Fairfax, Hayabusa, Rival, TopBoxer, Twins, Winning, and so on. And I’ve consumed more time, effort, and money than I’d like to admit (to my family, anyway) on researching gloves, browsing online and traditional stores, and finding the best deals possible.

Before charging into the smoke-and-mirrors of the Australian glove market, however, it’s necessary to elucidate what I have in mind by “the best approach”.

The target audience of this guide comprises men and women who are serious about the sport of boxing, i.e. people who both train and fight or people who at least train as if they intend to fight. I’ll call this group boxers for convenience, even though not all of them actually box in the sense of fighting in a ring. The glove requirements of boxers will generally not be the same as those of people who only do “boxfit” or the like. This latter group I’ll call boxfitters. Boxers punch more and punch harder than boxfitters do. They therefore require highly protective and highly durable gloves. Of course, boxfitters require protective and durable gloves also, but not anywhere near the same degree as boxers do.

The distinction between boxfitters and serious boxers is not the same as that between beginner boxers and more experienced boxers. I don’t subscribe to the popular idea that beginner boxers should buy low quality gloves just because they’re beginners. Indeed, in an ideal world, beginner boxers would always use the best gloves, since they’re much more likely than experienced boxers to go hard on the heavy bag with defective technique. Of course, in reality, most beginners aren’t going to splash out on a brand new pair of Winning. But it doesn’t follow that they should start out with junk gloves. The idea that beginners, simply in virtue of being beginners, should start out with such gloves, is what I call the beginner gear fallacy.

Another important consideration is price. I am strongly of the view that most training gloves in the Australian market are overpriced. Put simply, they’re rip-offs. This is obvious for the generic junk gloves, some of which retail for upwards of one hundred dollars! But the point holds for many of the better gloves as well. A brand new pair of good quality gloves from an Australian retail outlet will often cost significantly more than the exact same pair of gloves in the US. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Australians. We’re already all-to-familiar with this phenomenon from our years of being ripped-off with consumer electronics. We even have a name for it: the Australia tax.

My aim here, therefore, is to provide boxers with guidance on buying good quality and reasonably priced training gloves in Australia. The first part gives a critical overview of the main Australian brands. The second part does the same for the main Australian retailers and online shopping platforms. I then set out what I take to be the best approach to buying gloves Down Under.

1. Australian brands

2. Australian vendors & platforms

Brand new

Pre-owned

3. Best approach to buying


Australian brands

The Australian brands generally market low quality generic gloves made in Pakistan (or, less commonly, China). My use of the noun “brand” and the verb “market” in describing these companies and what they do is entirely apt. They’re predominantly just brands marketing generic gloves with logos printed on them, though a minority seem to be involved in designing gloves as well (rather than just using whatever generic Pakistani/Chinese moulds happen to available at the time). As far as I’m able to determine, only one of them – VIP Sports – actually produces gloves in Australia. The other brands may be Australian, but their gloves are not Australian products.

If, like many well-meaning Australians, you intend on buying an Australian brand because of romantic nostalgia for the Australia manufacturing sector, your choice is ultimately between idiocy and self-delusion. Buy gloves made in Australia and then you’re an idiot (because VIP is crap). Buy another Australian brand and then you’re not supporting the Australian manufacturing sector; rather, you’re supporting the Australian marketing and retail sectors and in certain cases the product design sector as well. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course; I’m not intending to downplay those sectors. They employ people and pay taxes. But don’t delude yourself about what you’re doing when you hand over your cash.

In general, the problem with Australia brands is that they simply don’t offer good quality gloves for serious boxers at reasonable prices. You can almost always find pre-owned gloves from Fairtex, Rival, TopBoxer, Twins, and other good quality brands on Gumtree and eBay at lower prices. You can buy them brand new on eBay and elsewhere for prices similar to those charged by the Australian brands for their best gloves. And you can often buy top quality Cleto Reyes at those higher price points as well, even pre-owned Winnings.

Jim Bradley Speedball Co.

Jim Bradley is well-known in the Australian boxing community for its range of speedballs, heavy bags, double-end bags, and bag stands, all of which it manufactures itself at its factory in Melbourne. Jim Bradley makes some excellent quality, albeit rather expensive, boxing equipment. I currently own a Jim Bradley tri-functional bag stand (for a heavy bag, double-end bag, and speedball), and I really do like it a lot. It’s strong, solid, and durable. I’ve also owned a Jim Bradley heavy bag and a Jim Bradley speedball before. They were excellent pieces of equipment. Jim Bradley is the only extant manufacturer of high quality boxing equipment in Australia.

But Jim Bradley doesn’t make its own gloves, and you can tell. The basic synthetic gloves are obviously just overpriced junk from Pakistan. The pricier leather gloves also look like generic models to me, but they were allegedly designed by “a boxer for Australian boxing conditions”. The boxer-cum-designer is apparently Bobby McLeod, a former Australian pro with an undistinguished record both inside and outside the ring, and no known skills in product design. Jim Bradley doesn’t explain what “Australian boxing conditions” are or why anyone needs gloves specially designed by Bobby McLeod to train under them.

The marketing bunkum Jim Bradley uses to describe its gloves is revealing. Jim Bradley typically describes the products it makes itself in confident, matter-of-fact language. This, I think, is a reflection of Jim Bradley’s justified confidence in its own craftsmanship. But deep down Jim Bradley knows, or at least suspects, that it cannot have such confidence in the gloves it imports on the cheap from Asia, so it describes them using the same pseudo-technical language as all the other Australia brands. It’s all to no avail, of course.

Jim Bradley Men’s/Ladies’ Gloves (A$79)

Generic junk gloves with “double wrist strap for added wrist protection and stability”, “extremely strong PU textured skin”, and “superbly handcrafted, ventilated mesh passages” – all of which you can get for a fraction of the price on eBay and Gumtree and none of which should trick you into parting with eighty bucks.

Jim Bradley Leather Gloves (A$99.00)

Jim Bradley says these are “top of the range” gloves and “designed by a boxer for Australian boxing conditions”. The first claim is unjustified and false. The second claim may well be true, but I don’t know why anyone would care about it. I suppose you’d like to know that the gloves come with an “SAS (shock absorption system) for increased strike energy management”, “atmosphere airflow designed for comfort”, “Sportline 3D inner lining with contoured design”, and an “embedded oversized Velcro wrist strap”. Well, now that you know it all, go spend your one hundred bucks on something else.

Jim Bradley Leather – Signature Edition (A$155)

They are identical to the leather model discussed above, only they have the name and signature of the utterly obscure Australian boxer Bobby Mclean printed on them. That makes the gloves worth fifty-five dollars more. Yes, it really does.

Killa

This is a relatively young Australian brand, having produced its first glove in only 2012. It’s also highly ambitious. Killa claims that its gloves “are of the same high quality as your Winning and Grant” but “at a more affordable cost for fighters who are looking to develop their careers in the sport.” Killa’s intention is to “surpass Winning and Grant as the world’s most used boxing gloves in the next five years.” The company has already expanded into the US glove market, though I’ve got no idea how well it’s doing there.

Killa’s hyperbole should be taken with a grain of salt, as its gloves are made in Pakistan. But whatever you think about that, the founders of Killa really do seem to have put in the time, effort, and money necessary to develop some genuinely good quality gloves for serious boxing training. And indeed Killa gloves have been used by several genuinely high-level professional boxers during training and/or competition, including the former world champions Austin Trout and Billy Dib, and the rising prospect Tim Tszyu (yep, good ol’ Kostya’s son). This sets Killa apart, I think, from every other Australian brand.

Killa 2Sharp (A$79.95-129.95)

These perform well given the price, but their durability is questionable. I’ve got a 12oz pair (AU$79.95) and they’re ok for bagwork and padwork. The lining in one of them came apart pretty quickly (after a few months), exposing the padding underneath. The price goes up with oz weight (like the price of Winning do). I wouldn’t spend a hundred and thirty bucks on the 14 or 16oz ones.

Killa Elite (A$199)

| eBay |

They’re good quality gloves with triple-layer padding comprising polyurethane, foam rubber, and quilted foam. The 8 and 10oz ones are “approved for use by all professional and state sanctioning bodies.” You can get bigger sizes with velcro straps for training, if you like. But they’re fairly expensive for stock gloves made in Pakistan. If you can get them on sale and you like the look of them, go for it.

Killa Prestige (A$249)

Another good quality model for serious boxing training. But like the Elites, this model is very expensive for stock gloves made in Pakistan. And it’s unclear why they cost fifty dollars more. There’s more padding in them, I think, so maybe it’s that. But you can buy brand new stock TopBoxer gloves with Winning-style padding for substantially less than these cost. Custom TopBoxers are likely to cost you less also, depending on the options you select, and they will be made to satisfy your personal aesthetic and functional requirements. You can buy brand new Cleto Reyes on eBay, and even pre-owned Winnings on Gumtree, at this high price point. If you can get Killa Prestige at a more reasonable price on sale, they’re definitely worthy of your consideration.

Madison

This brand is truly the Australian leader in overpriced junk gloves. Madison offers a large selection of gloves at price points ranging from A$50 all the way up to A$170, but the price-to-quality ratio at every point is simply appalling.

The cheapest Madison gloves provide little or no protection and fall apart very quickly. I can say without exaggeration that it’s dangerous to use them for any kind of serious boxing training. The padding is too hard for sparring and they’re too flimsy and unsupportive for work on the heavy bag and pads. You wouldn’t even want to buy them for boxfit. They’re not “economy” or “budget” gloves; they’re rubbish. They’re made only to be thrown away.

Madison’s many mid-range gloves are better quality, which is not saying much. Most would be fine for boxfit, if you can get them on sale. The only gloves Madison seems to intend for serious boxing training fall within the A$100-$170 range. But even these dearer ones are just generic Pakistani models. You can buy similar models, perhaps even the exact same ones with different brand names on them, brand new on Gumtree and eBay for a fraction of what Madison charges.

Madison Fighting Fit Training Glove (A$49.95)

| Amazon |

These deformities have a strong claim to being the worst gloves you can buy in Australia. They boast a thin layer of concrete padding and a service life of about ten seconds (or a month if you’re lucky). The retail price is unjustifiable. There’s not really any price at which these gloves are not a rip-off. I hate them.

Madison Platinum (A$99.95)

| Amazon |

These are way better than the previous model, but they’re still crap. Not only are they obviously generic Pakistani gloves, they’ll set you back a whopping one hundred bucks. For less than that you can get a pre-owned pair of Fairtex, Twins, or Rival on Gumtree or eBay. You could also just save up a bit more and buy a brand new pair.

Madison Pro Sparring Gloves (A$170)

Madison’s idea of a practical joke. I’d rather cut off my own head than lay out A$170 for these gloves.

Mani

There’s not much to say about Mani after having just reviewed Madison. Both trade in generic junk models with little or nothing to set them apart other than the designs on them. But Mani is the better of the two brands, even if it’s for no other reason than that the best Mani gloves cost much less than the best Madison gloves. They’re still rip-offs, though.

Mani’s pseudo-technical language rivals Jim Bradley’s, and really does constitute an original and worthy contribution to the comedic strain within the literature of marketing bunkum.

Mani Synthetic Gloves (A$39.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Generic junk gloves targeted at boxfitters. They have “3GCOOL2” and “cX3”. Of course, the benefits of those technologies are so well known Mani doesn’t need to explain them.

Mani TuffX (A$54.99)

| eBay |

For fifteen dollars more than the basic model, you not only get “3GCOOL2” and “cX3”, but “WS System” and “MCH Injection”. At least you don’t get elastic wrist straps.

Mani Pro-Sparring (A$99.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

The same mould as the TuffX model, this time covered in leather. And it costs forty-five dollars more. This is your cue to open up Gumtree and eBay.

Mani Delux (A$104.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Oh, you’re still reading? You must be wondering about the amazing technical features of these even more expensive gloves. Well, you won’t be disappointed: these gloves have been “specifically designed” with “room for wrapped hands.” Gosh. What will they think of next?

Mani Gel Boxing Gloves (A$119.95)

| Amazon | eBay |

You must be a veritable tech-head. Well, hold onto your hat! These babies combine the fabled “WS System” with cutting-edge “X-3 Gel for extra absorption.” There are also two massive seams running down the striking surface of these generic Pakistani gel gloves, which must do wonders for their durability.

Morgan

Yet another purveyor of generic junk gloves from Pakistan. Like Mani, Morgan is better than Madison simply because the best Morgan gloves cost much less than the best Madison gloves. I personally prefer the aesthetics of Morgan to that of Madison and Mani, but not even the human weakness for style over substance can assuage the feeling of being ripped-off by this brand.

The cheapest Morgan gloves are obviously too expensive at A$50, but they’re better quality than Madison’s Fighting Fit Training gloves. The padding isn’t as bad, and they’re not made with that flimsy mesh stuff so common these days on junk gloves. They would be ok for boxfit if you can get them at a big discount.

Although the quality of Morgan gloves does improve as the prices go up, the price-to-quality ratio remains bad and the marketing bunkum gets entirely out of hand. The best Morgan gloves may well be intended for serious boxing training, but they’re obviously just overpriced generic gloves from Pakistan/China. Morgan insists its best gloves are “the safest training boxing gloves in the industry” and “the finest boxing gloves in the market”. This means the company is either lying to itself or lying to you. Take a guess which it is.

I find all of this unfortunate because some of Morgan’s other equipment is solid. I personally own two Morgan heavy bags and they do the job well enough. But serious boxers should avoid this brand’s gloves.

Morgan V2 Classic (A$49.95)

| eBay |

They’re better quality and value than Madison Fighting Fit Training Gloves! Sigh.

Morgan Endurance Pro V2 (A$69.95)

| Amazon | eBay |

Supertight. I have small hands and I can barely get into my 12oz pair. But these gloves are more like a weird magic trick than boxing gloves anyway. You pay seventy dollars for them and then – hey presto! – they fall apart before your very eyes. I’ve witnessed it myself and it’s really quite amazing.

Morgan Sparta (A$79.95)

| eBay |

They’re “ergonomically designed to perfectly fit your hand”, which seems sensisble. And since these use Morgan’s “innovative Ergonomic True-Fist Construction”, they “may be the snuggest, most secure fitting sparring and heavy bag glove on the market today.” Perhaps. But they may also be generic junk gloves you can buy brand new on eBay for a lot less, or find second hand on Gumtree for almost nothing.  

Morgan B2 Bomber (A$119.95)

| eBay |

These are the best training gloves in the world, according to Morgan: better than Cleto Reyes, better than Grant, and better than Winning. If you believe that, you deserve to throw away one hundred and twenty dollars on them.

Punch Equipment

The people behind this brand are masters of the art of marketing boxing gloves. None of the other brands, except for Sting, comes close to Punch in this regard. Punch’s range includes several “cool” looking gloves. You often see guys sporting them in boxing gyms. Many people in the Australian boxing scene seem fully convinced that Punch is a very high quality brand indeed.

The reputation of Punch, however strikes me as an instance of a more general phenomenon (common in politics) where lots of people come to believe that something is true simply because they’ve been told over and over again that it is true. Punch feeds its own mythology by plastering “AAA Grade” all over its more expensive gloves and other gear. It even produces online “reviews” of its own gloves in which a guy tells you what you’re meant to use them for (boxfit or serious boxing training) and why they’re the best gloves for that purpose.

Punch gloves are made in Pakistan. The company claims to have a team of “full-time designers and commercial product development managers” lurking about somewhere in sunny Queensland. But it’s hard to believe Punch’s low-end models are anything other than generic Pakistani junk gloves. Even Punch’s more expensive gloves seem like generic models to me, or at best minor modifications of such models. I’ve owned quite a few pairs of Punch, and although they’re certainly not the worst gloves you can buy, there’s nothing particularly great about them either.

Punch Urban (A$69.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

A massively overpriced generic Pakistani model. Not suitable for serious boxing training. Aesthetically they’re not too bad; they remind me a bit of the synthetic Everlast Powerlocks. But you shouldn’t buy Powerlocks and you shouldn’t buy these gloves either.

Punch Trophy Getters (A$109.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

The brand’s “flagship boxing gloves for the past 20+ years.” These are the ones every second or third guy has at your gym. I’ve owned several pairs of Trophy Getters and they’re ok if you’re in a hurry and you can get a pre-owned pair in near new condition on Gumtree for around forty or fifty bucks. I’d never pay the retail price for them, however. They’re padded with a simple injection mould like gazillions of other gloves. And their durability is dubious. Although the striking surface is (mediocre) leather, the palms and cuffs are made of “Punchtex”, a synthetic material which Punch absurdly claims to be “the most durable material ever used.” I’ve witnessed this super-material crack and peel within only two months on a brand new pair of Trophy Getters.

Punch Fuerte Elite (A$189.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

A sad attempt to jump on the Mexican-style band wagon. The gloves were allegedly “Disenado en Mexico”, but they’re certainly not made there. It’s not improbable that they fall off a conveyor belt in the same Pakistani factory as Title’s widely despised Pro Mex gloves. I initially thought they were one and the same model. Other than one line of stitching on the palm, they appear to be structurally identical. But Pro Mex gloves at least have layered padding, as Title is eager to point out. The padding in Fuerte Elite is just another injection mould. This makes the price of nearly two hundred bucks beyond all reason. Fuerte Elite are targeted at newbie yuppies who’ve heard something positive about Mexican gloves and Mexican boxers like Canelo, but otherwise know nothing about the sport. If you want Mexican gloves, then buy Mexican gloves: Boxeo, Campeon, Casanova, Cleto Reyes, GIL, Hernandez… just don’t buy Punch.

Rock Boxing

This is the house brand of Rebel Sport, a big (the biggest?) Australian retailer of sporting equipment. Rock is one of the cheapest junk brands anywhere in our wide brown land. My first pair of gloves were Rock and I must confess I have secretly harboured something of a soft-spot for the brand ever since. I punched away madly at a heavy bag for months in my Rock gloves, never wrapping my hands or thinking about technique for a moment. Yet I emerged from this episode of newbie delirium with only mild soreness in my right wrist.

Given the low prices Rebel usually charges for Rock gloves (A$20-$30, even less on sale), they’re by no means the worst gloves out there. They’re cheaper and better than the appalling Madison Fighting Fit gloves, for example. Rock padding is also superior, insofar as it’s not a thin layer of concrete. You can easily get away with using a pair of Rock gloves for boxfit. But the padding doesn’t last, the mesh is flimsy, the stitching is dodgy, and the gloves come apart sooner rather than later. They’re not suitable for any kind of serious boxing training.

Rock Boxing Gloves (A$19.95)

Rebel says these gloves have “performance enhancing fit with superior impact protection”, “superior synthetic leather outer”, and “full wrist wrap with torsion bolsters”. Although that’s all marketing bunkum, the truth is that Rock gloves are just as good as several other generic Pakistani gloves retailing at much higher prices. Of course, despite the ridiculous soft-spot I have for them, you should cast these gloves out of your mind and do everything you can to avoid buying them.

SMAI

SMAI is a pretty well-known fitness brand in Australia. It does big gym fitouts and that kind of thing. You may well have seen SMAI equipment in your local suburban gym. And if you have ever used SMAI equipment it a gym, I’m sure it was perfectly adequate to the task.

I wouldn’t bother with SMAI boxing gloves, though. The company just imports generic Pakistani gloves like almost all the other Australia brands. Contrary to what SMAI would have you believe, they’re most certainly not “top tier boxing gloves.” SMAI’s best model isn’t too bad and might serve you well enough, but it’s too expensive for what you get.

SMAI Essentials (A$69)

| eBay |

Massive rip-offs. Despite the very high price of these gloves relative to other low-end gloves, SMAI reckons it developed this model “to offer a cost-effective boxing glove option.” It also reckons this model is “the best boxing glove when looking for an all-rounder option for sparring, training, and competition.” This is on a par with Morgan’s stupid lie about its B2 Bomber gloves.

SMAI Elite85 (A$99)

| eBay |

SMAI’s version of the obligatory one hundred dollar generic Pakistani gloves. They have “signature matte leather and crimson detailing.” You can buy brand new gloves like this for half the price on eBay. Or, for a similar price, better pre-owned gloves on Gumtree.

Mexican Hybrid V3 (A$129)

| eBay |

Another product of the modern craze for everything Mexican-style in boxing. They’d be ok to use for a little while, I think, but they’re not Mexican and you’d have to be ignorant or crazy to pay the asking price. If you really want generic Pakistani Mexican-style gloves like these, you can get them on eBay for less than one hundred and twenty-nine dollars. You could also save up a little bit more and buy brand new Mexican-style gloves from good quality brands like Fairtex and TopBoxer. Or try keeping an eye out for pre-owned genuine Mexican gloves like Cleto Reyes on Gumtree.

Sting

Sting is the most successful Australian brand. It’s grown from just another small-time Australia marketer of overpriced generic junk gloves into a semi-global operation with a presence in the US and UK glove markets and a couple of major sponsorship deals with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) under its belt.

That’s all great for its owners, but Everlast is also a global operation, and a much bigger one at that, yet most of its gloves are landfillers. So what should we make of Sting?

The guys at Sting are supreme masters of marketing generic Pakistani models with “cool”, even sophisticated, designs on them. Not even Punch rivals Sting in that regard. But unlike Punch and most other Australian brands, Sting has done the work required to produce some decent gloves.

Sting Armalite (A$49.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Overpriced generic junk glove for boxfitters. Better quality and value than Madison Fighting Fit, though.

Sting Armaplus (A$79.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

These are the second pair of gloves I ever owned and they’re just another generic Pakistani junk glove. Although they’re aesthetically superior to the Armalites, I’ve never understood why they’re so much more expensive. Not bad for boxfitters if you can get them at a heavy discount.

Sting Titan (A$99.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Sting gave this leather model the groundbreaking technologies of “high performance T3”, “Hi Flow Core system”, and “Sportline 3D”, which as everyone knows have revolutionised the boxing glove industry. This is not Kansas anymore, Toto.

Sting Orion (A$129.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Another leather model with the “Hi Flow Core” and “Sportline 3D” technologies, but for some reason it lacks “high performance T3”. I have no idea why these glove cost thirty bucks more than the Titans, and I doubt Sting does either. The cuff on one of my Orions literally detached from the hand compartment in about three months.

Sting Viper (A$249.99)

A good pair of dedicated sparring gloves. They require a bit of breaking-in before you go hard at it, however. They’re also way, way, way too expensive for stock sparring gloves made in Pakistan. Topboxer is a Pakistani outfit and you can buy its stock gloves on eBay for much less than the Vipers. TopBoxer will even make a custom pair of Winning-style sparring gloves for less than the Vipers, depending on the options you select. I’d personally go for TopBoxer over Sting any day: not only would I (probably) save money, I’d also receive good quality gloves from tried-and-trusted Pakistani craftsman. Even setting TopBoxer aside, there’s Cleto Reyes and (pre-owned) Winning to consider as well.

Sting Predator (A$249.99)

| eBay |

A good all-round training glove, certainly one of the best from any Australian brand. The padding is five foam layers infused with a “Neo-Gel layer”. The gel is a stupid gimmick, of course, but the move up to multi-layered padding is commendable. The inner lining is very nice. The performance and quality of the Predators is adequate for serious boxing training. They’re better than the Vipers because they’re more versatile. Like the Vipers, though, they’re way, way, way too expensive for stock gloves made in Pakistan. You should only buy them pre-owned or brand new at a discount, in my opinion. Otherwise you’re risking two hundred and fifty bucks on relatively untried-and-untested Pakistani gloves. At around that price point, you can buy a brand new pair of Cleto Reyes, custom TopBoxers made to satisfy your aesthetic and functional requirements, or even pre-owned Winnings.

VIP Sports

This brand is one of several owned by the Australian company GPI Sports & Fitness. All VIP gloves have “Made in Australia” printed on the them and, indeed, it’s the you-beaut truth that GPI manufactures its small range of boxing gloves in Australia. They’re fine for boxfitters, and even better for serious boxers who also happen to be insane martyrs for the Australian manufacturing sector.

VIP Classic (A$30)

| eBay |

These gloves are the really cheap synthetic things you see in the sports department at Big W. You could get away with using them for boxfit as long as you control your punches.

VIP Challenger (A$45)

| eBay |

Big rip-offs because they’re practically identical to the Classics, only they have “Challenger” printed on them.

VIP Professional (A$99)

They’re leather. Wow. An economist might point to the existence of these gloves as ample justification for the relative collapse of Australian manufacturing.

Xpeed

Our variety show of Australian brands is sadly coming to an end, ladies and gentlemen. But for our last exhibit, I’ve got something something completely different for you: three overpriced generic gloves from Pakistan!

The marketer of the last three gloves on our list, Xpeed, describes itself as a “premium Australian fitness brand.” Although it’s predominantly just an importer, Xpeed does have the capacity to “manufacture, modify, and provide maintenance services for a variety of equipment”; and for all I know, its general fitness equipment (bars, weights, racks, and so on) might be good quality stuff at reasonable prices.

I can’t take Xpeed seriously, however, as a boxing brand. The brand has, and I think still does, sponsor several young fighters in boxing, kickboxing, and MMA. You can find a few photos on the internet of people fighting in Xpeed gloves. But we all know sponsorship doesn’t count for much. Top brands like Cleto Reyes and Winning are used by pros around the world, but those companies don’t pay anyone to fight in their gear.

Xpeed Contender (A$50)

The same price but better quality than Madison’s Fighting Fit gloves. They’d do for boxfit. They come with a crappy elasticised wrist strap, which is common on bad gloves, and pretty much guarantees they’re going to fall apart sooner rather later. Xpeed informs us that “whatever goal you are trying to reach the Contender range is designed to take you there.” And this is indeed true, provided your goal as a serious boxer is to reach a rubbish bin.

Xpeed Professional (A$100)

Rip-offs. This leather model seems to have exactly the same mould in it as the much cheaper synthetic Contender model. At least the wrist strap is bigger and inelastic. There’s a huge section of crappy mesh on the strap, though, which weakens it considerably. You can buy brand new generic gloves like these for half the price on eBay. Or for a similar price get pre-owned Fairtex, Rival, or Twins on Gumtree.

Xpeed Fighter (A$125)

Another leather model, this time with “a composite of 4 foam layers and an additional Gel infused layer of padding above the knuckle.” The four layers of foam are definitely an improvement over the padding inside the Contender and Professional models. The gel layer, however, is just a stupid gimmick taken seriously by no one. If for some reason (which I could never appreciate) you actually want a pair of generic Pakistani gel gloves like these, eBay has lots of them and they don’t cost anywhere near one hundred and twenty-five bucks.


Australian vendors & platforms

There are not many places to buy boxing gloves in Australia. All of the Australian brands sell their own gloves on their websites, except for Morgan and VIP, which are wholesalers only. You need look further afield if you want to buy something else or at least check out what else is available (which by now you probably do). Your options comprise Amazon Australia, eBay Australia, Rebel Sport, and a handful of specialist combat gear stores. Amazon and especially eBay provide glimpses into the US market, a mystical dreamland of big choice and small prices, where Cleto Reyes grow on trees, ordinary working men can afford Grants, and the state issues every male with a free pair of Winnings on his eighteenth birthday. Or so it sometimes seems to us down here at the arse end of the world.

The relatively high prices of good quality training gloves in Australia is a first world problem, of course. We are among the richest people in the whole history of the human species. Most working men could actually afford to buy a brand new pair of Grants if they really, really, really wanted to do so. At worst they’d have to endure a few days or weeks of infelicity on the home front; at best, they’d have to deal with nothing more than raised eyebrows, sighs, and withering shakes of the head. There’d still be roofs over their heads and food on their tables. But a first world problem is still a problem, and no one likes either the vague feeling or the definite realisation of being ripped-off. The fact of the matter is that good quality training gloves are expensive in Australia.

The key factor is the exchange rate. If the value of the Australian dollar is high, then it’s cheaper to import stuff and the retail prices of imported stuff should be lower (other things being equal). Our experience has been mixed, though. The value of the Australian dollar was very high over the decade 2004-2014, yet many retail prices didn’t drop – or not by as much as we’d all hoped. Thus we turned en masse to Amazon and eBay and simply imported the desired stuff ourselves, while the traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers came to be regarded as nothing more than unscrupulous farmers of the despised Australia tax. In recent years, the dollar has been quite weak, and Australia’s 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been extended to small overseas purchases. Even so, you should always check the prices offered by overseas sellers, regardless of whether you intend to buy brand new or pre-owned gloves.

Brand new

Amazon Australia

Most Australians would probably agree that Amazon Australia has been a disappointment. Neither the range nor the prices are what we were anticipating. Boxing gear is no exception. But Amazon Australia is gradually improving and it’s always worth checking out if you’re in the market for a pair of brand new gloves.

Amazon Australia is an excellent source of generic Pakistani gloves at reasonable prices. So it’s great for boxfitters. You can also find top quality Cleto Reyes for AU$245-280 inclusive of international postage, which is somewhat cheaper than other online Australian retailers. Amazon Australia’s range of other good quality brands is quite limited, however. (You can’t buy Grant, Fly, or Winning on Amazon Australia, for example.)

There are two important things to keep mind when shopping for gloves on Amazon. One is that you should not block global search results. The best prices for most gloves, whether generic junk or topshelf, almost always come from the Amazon Global Store. Obviously you’ll need to factor into account the cost of international postage when comparing prices from the Amazon Global Store with those of Australian retailers.

Another thing is that you must beware of dropship scammers. These guys list items they don’t even have in stock at very high prices, order them from real suppliers at lower prices after you make your order, and then pocket the difference. There are vendors on Amazon offering, for example, Cleto Reyes for upwards of A$400! The worst dropship scammer for boxing gloves is BuyGlobal. Do not buy anything from BuyGlobal, ever.

Boxing Gloves Online

This store stocks some top quality gloves, but it’s expensive. It sells Cleto Reyes for A$300-310 exclusive of shipping cost, which adds on another A$20. It also has Everlast MX Training Gloves for a whopping A$375, to which you may again add twenty bucks for postage. I’d never pay four hundred bucks for a pair of Everlast MX.

In addition, there are lots of massively overpriced generic gloves available here, like ACE, Adidas, Bad Boy, low-end Everlast, Leone, Punch, Onward, Sting, Title, and Xpeed. You probably shouldn’t buy any of those gloves unless you’re broke and they’re heavily discounted.

Boxing Warehouse

This store appears to be a retail front for Punch. I’m not sure, though; that’s just what it looks like. It stocks the entire range of Punch gloves and charges a flat rate of A$9.90 for postage. The only other gloves it stocks are Adidas AIBA competition gloves, which are not recommended for training. I don’t think Punch’s retail prices are reasonable, so I wouldn’t recommend buying gloves from this store unless it’s holding at least a 50% off discount sale and, for some weird reason, you really want a brand new pair of Punch Trophy Getters.

eBay Australia

This is always my first stop when I’m looking for a brand new pair of good quality gloves. The reason is twofold: eBay Australia opens up access to many international vendors offering better value than Australian retailers, and you can sometimes find even cheaper pre-owned gloves in as new condition.

You seem to be able to buy almost every brand of glove on eBay. It has pretty much every generic Pakistani glove under the sun. It has most of the good brands as well. There are always brand new Grant, Cleto Reyes, Fairtex, Rival, stock TopBoxer, custom TopBoxer, Twins, and Winning for sale on eBay. Sometimes you can find high-end Everlast gloves and Mexican brands like Casanova. Fly, however, doesn’t seem to be sold brand new on eBay.

One important thing to keep in mind while shopping on eBay is that the prices displayed for gloves from international sellers are generally exclusive of Australia’s 10% GST. But even once the GST and shipping costs are factored in, it’s still very possible you’ll save money. So, as with Amazon, you must ensure you don’t block global (“worldwide”) search results on eBay.

Scammers are prevalent on eBay. You must beware of dropshippers. Even worse, though, are the gazillions of fake gloves, especially fake Cleto Reyes, Grant, and Winning. eBay seems to have a bigger problem with fakes than Amazon. If you are unsure about the authenticity of what you’re looking at, do not buy it until you seek independent third-party advice. In my personal experience, one of the best sources of advice (other than verbally asking someone knowledgeable about gloves) is the gear forum on Sherdog.

The Fight Factory

This store has a very big range and some good quality gloves, but nothing, I think, that you can’t find brand new for less on eBay. There are Cleto Reyes for AU$295 and velcro versions of Venum’s high-end, but relatively untried-and-untested, Hammer Pro, Shield Pro, and Giant 2.0 gloves for A$250. Add A$10 to those prices for shipping.

There are also good quality Fairtex and Twins, though you’d want to check eBay before buying either of those brands from this store. And then there are many rip-off gimmicky gloves from Fighting Sports and Title, and the usual overpriced generic Pakistani junk gloves like ACE, Adidas, Morgan, SMAI, and gaudy low-end Venums, all of which I’d avoid.

Fight Life

It’s got small range of overpriced Pakistani junk gloves from Adidas, Morgan, and Sting, as well as the utterly appalling Last Round. You should not buy gloves from here. Avoid.

MMA Fight Store

This is the Australian retailer with the widest selection of top quality training gloves. It has Cleto Reyes and Everlast MX and it’s the only Australian retailer of Winning (though often it doesn’t have them in stock). It also has other pretty good quality brands like Fairtex, Hayabusa, and Twins.

MMA Fight Store is a slick operation, with a cool online store and a couple of equally cool bricks-and-mortar stores that make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. But it’s gloves and other gear can be really, really, really expensive, especially gloves from the top brands.

This is best illustrated by considering the top of the top: Winning. MMA Fight Store sells 16oz lace up Winnings for A$600 and 12oz lace up Winnings for A$559, with free postage. But Rakuten Global Market has the very same gloves for around A$450 and A$350, respectively. You can expect to add another A$50 for shipping, but for that your package will be delivered to your door by Japan’s famously fast and reliable Express Mail Service (EMS). And you’ll have saved a hundred bucks, maybe even more.

Rebel Sport

This ubiquitous retailer only stocks overpriced Pakistani junk gloves from Everlast, its house brand Rock, and Sting. It’s good for boxfitters when it has one of its big discount sales. That’s all it’s good for, though.

Ringsport

This is the only Australian retailer of Rival gloves. Its selection of Rival gloves is excellent, ranging all the way from Rival’s low-end boxfit gloves to Rival’s high-end bag and sparring gloves. Ringsport doesn’t stock the Guerrero models, however. I’ve previously purchased a great pair of Rival bag gloves from Ringsport. The cost is roughly on a par with, or even better than, buying brand new Rivals from overseas. So if you want a brand new pair of Rivals, you may as well buy from Ringsport.

Pre-owned

eBay Australia

I’ve already discussed eBay as a source of brand new gloves. But eBay is also an excellent source of pre-owned gloves at reasonable prices. You can get pre-owned gloves on eBay by paying the price set by a seller, just as you do on Gumtree. You can also, of course, get pre-owned gloves on eBay by bidding in auctions. In my own experience, auctions provide the best opportunities to get a great bargain, as long as you set yourself a limit and don’t get carried away. Last year I won an auction for a pair of 16oz lace up Cleto Reyes in as new condition. I’d decided beforehand that my limit was A$150 exclusive of shipping. The total cost, including shipping, ended up being only A$125! If you intend to buy pre-owned gloves on eBay, you should keep in mind the risks I point out below in my discussion of Gumtree. I think, however, that eBay provides more protections for consumers buying pre-owned items than Gumtree does.

Gumtree Australia

This online classifieds platform is the best source in Australia of pre-owned good quality gloves at reasonable prices. You can almost always find pre-owned Fairtex, Hayabusa, Rival, and Twins in great (sometimes new or near-new) condition for well below their retail prices. You can sometimes find pre-owned Cleto Reyes and Winning in great condition for well below their retail prices as well, though naturally they don’t come up as often as other brands do. I’ve personally purchased pre-owned lace up 12oz Winnings in great condition on Gumtree for only A$240, inclusive of postage.

If you’re to find a good bargain on Gumtree, though, you need to go about it the right way. First of all, you must run searches within the boxing category for the whole of Australia, not only your neighbourhood, and you must do so regularly throughout the day. Do not use keywords and do not apply any geographical restrictions. This will prevent people’s weird and garbled descriptions from hiding things you might like and give you the widest possible range of items. Although you’ll have to scroll through lots of rubbish, at least you won’t miss anything in Gumtree’s boxing category, no matter where it is located.

If someone’s selling a pair of gloves at what you take to be a high price, don’t simply dismiss the ad and move on. You’ll probably find that the gloves have already been sitting on Gumtree for weeks or even months. (Gumtree tells you how long ago ads were posted.) You can use information like that to your advantage. You might do any or all of the following: remind the seller that the gloves haven’t sold for X weeks/months; point out that the price is really close to the retail price using a hyperlink to an online retail outlet; compare the price of the seller’s gloves with similar pre-owned gloves on Gumtree; let the seller know that at that price you’re not really interested because you already have lots of gloves, but you might be interested if the price were lower. Or you can just make an offer and see what happens.

There are risks. If you require the seller to post an item to you, you’ll have to pay in full for both the item and the cost of postage before the item is sent. This is typically done by means of PayPal or direct deposit into the seller’s account. Either way, if the seller disappears, you may never receive your item or get your money back. That hasn’t ever happened to me, though, and I’ve purchased many gloves and other items on Gumtree.

Another risk is that fake high-end gloves occasionally appear on Gumtree. The most common are fake Grants, but you often see fake Cleto Reyes and Winnings also. Perhaps to help themselves sleep better at night, the scammers sometimes insert “AAA replicas” or some such nonsense in their ads. Don’t let these bizarre glimmers of honesty trick you. If in doubt, seek independent third-party advice. One of the best online sources of advice is the gear forum on Sherdog.


Best approach to buying

My aim is to provide boxers with guidance on buying good quality and reasonably priced training gloves in Australia. If you’re a boxfitter or you’re rich (or both) and you’re still reading, then you’ve wasted your time. That’s because, in either case, you don’t really need to devote a great deal of thought to the question.

If you’re a boxfitter, then almost any glove will do. Just make sure you control your technique and avoid heavy, hard punching. If you’re rich, then all you need to do is choose between a brand new pair of Cleto Reyes, Fly, Grant, Winning, or – if you’re really rich – Di Nardo. They’re the best brands in the world, hands down. They each have their idiosyncrasies, of course, but they’ve also been discussed and analysed to the nth degree, so you can read volumes about them in online discussion forums beforehand if you like. For what it’s worth, I recommend Winning over the other top brands. Winning gloves seem to have the least idiosyncrasies and they’re therefore the least likely to disappoint. Winning is pretty much the ideal training glove, in my opinion.

If you’re a serious boxer who’s not rich, however, then you do need to do a bit of thinking about the question of how to buy gloves. The keys to buying a good quality pair of gloves at a reasonable price are open-mindedness, systematicity, and patience.

Open-mindedness

First of all, you should be open-minded because that will yield the greatest range of buying opportunities. If you stipulate, for example, that you’re only interested in buying a pair of as-new Grants for A$100 or less, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed. An obviously absurd constraint like that would rule out every buying opportunity in advance. But even seemingly plausible constraints can be problematic. If you stipulate that you’re only interested in buying a brand new pair of gloves, for example, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to pay significantly more than you would otherwise. The same goes for brands of glove. Minimising the imposition of such constraints (i.e. keeping an open mind) is essential for maximising your buying opportunities.

Systematicity

You should go about your glove buying systematically. You should “save” category-wide global searches on eBay and Gumtree and perform them several times every day. This way you won’t miss out on anything. You should “watch” all items of interest, even if they’re very expensive, because then you won’t forget about them and eBay and Gumtree will notify you if their prices go down. If you’re browsing several online stores and platforms, you may wish to make a simple spreadsheet with columns for the brand, model, price (inclusive of GST and shipping), and vendor of the gloves you’re interested in buying, as well as a column for any notes or comments you’d like to remember. This may seem obsessive, but when you’re interested in five or six different gloves, each one of which is being offered by five or six different vendors, it can be really helpful.

Patience

You should prepare yourself for 3-4 weeks of searching to find a satisfactory buying opportunity. Of course, if a really great bargain turns up straightaway, then it’s unlikely to last long, and you may as well go for it. But that’s not how things usually go. You need to wait. Not only will doing so increase your buying opportunities, it often puts you at an advantage when dealing with vendors of pre-owned gloves. Patience enables you to get a feeling for the current state of the market and play things cool. You can use your market knowledge to bargain vendors down. You can bargain with them and make them offers without seeming overly eager or desperate to actually buy the gloves. Patience is effective because many sellers are more eager to sell than you are to buy.

I am now in a position to set out my method in a series of steps:

  1. Determine the maximum amount of money (inclusive of GST and shipping) you’re willing to spend. This should be at least A$150. In the spirit of open-mindedness, prepare yourself to go slightly over it.
  2. Go to Gumtree Australia and perform an open search of the boxing category without any price or geographical restrictions. Save the search and run it three times every day.
  3. Go to eBay Australia and perform a search of the boxing gloves category. Restrict the search to pre-owned items, but ensure there are no price or geographical restrictions. Save the search and run it three times every day.
  4. Bargain.
  5. If Gumtree and eBay yield no satisfactory buying opportunities after 3-4 weeks, then either (a) increase the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend or (b) buy brand new stock gloves from TopBoxer or (c) consider buying another brand of brand new gloves. At all times continue monitoring eBay and Gumtree because anything could appear and any time.

This is the best approach for serious boxers to buy good quality pairs of gloves at reasonable prices in Australia. The problem with it, of course, is that I can’t recommend it as a categorical imperative. It’s only the best approach if lots of people don’t actually follow it. But I’m optimistic there will always be enough newbies, yuppies, weekend warriors, rich dudes, etc, who are ready and willing to buy brand new good quality gloves, and then put them on the market when the hard truth about the sport of boxing finally hits home.

What’s your experience been like buying gloves in the Australian market? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted by ScepticalBoxer

2 comments

Comprehensive and impressive write up. Looking to have my first amateur bout in March and found a pair of Twins Special 16oz on eBay and Hayabusas on Gumtree. Managed to haggle all the way down to both for $120 thanks to this.

Cheers

ScepticalBoxer

That’s a good price, RG693. Well done. And best wishes for your first bout!

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