“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” – Muhammad Ali
It never hurts to consult a guy called "The Greatest" for advice in his area of expertise. Of course, in the quote above, Ali was referring to the work he did training his body day in and day out, training his mind to be able to out-think his opponents in the ring, and developing tactics and strategies suited to each opponent he faced. But there's another aspect of behind the scenes preparation that should be top-of-mind for boxers of all skill levels: your boxing gear.
Don’t let countless hours of work and the money you spent on great boxing gear go to waste because you failed to take care of said gear. By following our guide to maintaining your equipment, you can place most of your focus on the the journey from boxing training, that behind the lines work, to dancing under the lights on fight night.
Wearing a clean pair of handwraps underneath your boxing gloves will protect your hands and wrists while also absorbing the sweat that you generate. To get the most out of your wraps, though, you cannot let them sit in your gym bag, wet and unwashed, after you leave the gym. Unpleasant odors are just the tip of what you'll start to run into. And no one wants to start a workout with wraps that are still damp from the last training session.
The biggest step in properly taking care of your handwraps is to just take the wraps out of your bag and hang them up, so they can dry out. This will help guard against funky smells and mold buildup. After every few sessions, you'll want to stick them in the washing machine to get them thoroughly cleaned up. Here are some suggestions on getting the best results from the next wash cycle:
- Put each wrap in a small mesh bag or pillowcase to prevent tangling.
- Since the colors of the wraps may bleed, wash them by themselves.
- Hang up instead of using a dryer. While most wraps can go in the dryer, many boxers believe they’ll get more shelf life out of wraps that are hung to dry instead.
Boxers are fixated on their boxing gloves. A lot of time goes in to choosing just the right pair. And that makes sense, because good gloves aren't cheap, and they will be your steadfast partner through all of your training. Get the most out of your investment and keep that attachment going as long as possible by keeping them in peak shape.
It’s essential to wipe down gloves after each workout. A washcloth and some antiseptic spray on the inside and outside of gloves will do the trick. The goal here is to snuff out bacteria, whose presence will cause nasty odors and mold buildup. Just like with hand wraps, take your gloves out of your bag as soon as you can so that they can dry out. You can speed up the process by placing them in front of a fan.
To go the extra mile and keep them smelling good—or as realistically “good” as possible—shove a few dryer sheets deep into each glove. You could also fill two socks with cedar chips, tie the end of each sock, and then place a sock in each glove. Creativity points for the latter.
Headgear and Groin Protectors
You know you’ve put some work in when you feel pools of sweat collecting in your shoes. That’s a good thing. What’s not good is failing to air them out afterward. So, don’t do that. Another “don’t do” is to wear your shoes outside. Boxing shoes are exactly that—boxing shoes. Wearing them outside or anywhere but in the gym or in the ring will mean you’ll have to invest in another pair far sooner than you'd like.
Clean your mouthguard before and after each workout. Rinsing with water beforehand will suffice. After your workout, we advise that you soak it in a glass filled with water and mouthwash overnight. For sanitary reasons, always keep your mouthpiece in its case while in your bag.
Jumping rope is likely part of your routine in some form or fashion. Avoid tangling by taking the jump rope out of your bag as soon as you get home. Hanging the rope on a hook or hanger. Then tie a paperweight to each handle. That should help prevent annoying tangling.