why does boxing referee hold up boxers gloves

why does boxing referee hold up boxers gloves

Why Does a Boxing Referee Hold Up Boxers’ Gloves?

Boxing is a highly regulated sport that requires strict adherence to rules and regulations to ensure fair play and the safety of the athletes. One of the duties of a boxing referee is to hold up the boxers’ gloves before and during the fight. This seemingly simple act serves several important purposes and contributes to the overall integrity of the sport. Let’s explore why a boxing referee holds up boxers’ gloves from various perspectives.

1. Ensuring Proper Glove Padding

One of the primary reasons a boxing referee holds up boxers’ gloves is to ensure that they are adequately padded. Proper padding is essential in boxing to minimize the risk of serious injuries, such as concussions or fractures. By inspecting the gloves before the fight, the referee can ensure that they meet the required standards set by the governing bodies of the sport.

why does boxing referee hold up boxers gloves

The referee checks the gloves for any signs of tampering or irregularities that could potentially give one boxer an unfair advantage over the other. This includes making sure that the padding is evenly distributed and that there are no foreign objects hidden inside the gloves that could cause harm.

2. Verifying Glove Weight

Another crucial aspect of a boxing referee holding up boxers’ gloves is to verify their weight. In professional boxing, fighters are required to wear gloves of a specific weight class, usually ranging from 8 to 16 ounces. The weight of the gloves can impact the force of the punches and the overall safety of the bout.

By checking the gloves’ weight, the referee ensures that both boxers are competing on a level playing field. This prevents any unfair advantage that could arise from using gloves that are either too heavy or too light.

3. Confirming Proper Hand Wrapping

Before putting on their gloves, boxers wrap their hands to provide additional support and protection. The referee holds up the gloves to visually inspect the hand wraps and ensure that they are applied correctly.

Improper hand wrapping can lead to injuries, such as broken bones or sprained wrists. By confirming the proper application of hand wraps, the referee helps maintain the safety and fairness of the fight.

4. Deterring Illegal Substances

In some unfortunate instances, boxers have been known to use illegal substances to enhance their performance. By holding up the gloves, the referee can visually inspect them for any signs of foreign substances, such as resin or other sticky substances that could improve grip or cause harm to the opponent.

Checking for illegal substances helps maintain the integrity of the sport and ensures that the fight remains fair and within the boundaries of the rules.

5. Preventing Hidden Objects

Boxing referees also hold up the gloves to prevent boxers from hiding any objects that could be used to gain an unfair advantage. This precautionary measure helps ensure that the fight is conducted with integrity and prevents any potential harm to the fighters.

By visually inspecting the gloves, the referee can identify and confiscate any hidden objects that could cause harm or give one boxer an unfair advantage over the other.

6. Establishing Control and Authority

The act of holding up the boxers’ gloves also serves as a symbolic gesture that establishes the referee’s control and authority over the fight. It signifies the beginning of the bout and reminds the boxers of the rules and regulations they must adhere to during the match.

By visually inspecting the gloves and ensuring that everything is in order, the referee sets the tone for a fair and controlled fight.


The act of a boxing referee holding up boxers’ gloves serves multiple purposes that contribute to the overall fairness and safety of the sport. It ensures proper glove padding, verifies glove weight, confirms proper hand wrapping, deters illegal substances, prevents hidden objects, and establishes control and authority. By performing this simple act, the referee plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the sport and protecting the well-being of the fighters.

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