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8 Essential Safety Tips for Boxing

8 Essential Safety Tips for Boxing

As a highly physical combat sport, boxers put themselves at risk of injury every time they enter the ring. Cornermen, cutmen, coaches, and boxers themselves are all responsible for the safety of those in the match, so no matter what part you play in boxing, it’s important to know the risks and how to mitigate them.

From nose fractures to black eyes, and even concussions, there are ways to protect yourself and significantly reduce the chance of an injury. Read on to find out our top eight recommended boxing safety tips.

Most Common Boxing Hazards

Boxing Injuries

A 2005 study on risks in boxing examined the most common types of injury during fights, The results are as follows:

  • Facial Laceration: 51%
  • Hand Injuries: 17%
  • Eye Injuries: 14%
  • Nose Injuries: 5%

It’s no surprise that injuries to the head are common in boxing as the objective of the game is a knockout. But these sorts of injuries can have dire consequences such as concussion, fractures, and even brain damage.

Making sure you go into a boxing match or training session with the right boxing safety equipment is imperative. Find out about essential boxing safety equipment in our blog.

8 Boxing Safety Tips

1. Wear the Right Gear

Going into the ring with the right protection is vital to keep your body safe during the bout. Make sure you have the following protective items which should be well-fitting and in good condition:

  1. Boxing gloves
  2. Hand wrap
  3. A head guard
  4. A mouthguard
  5. A chest guard if needed
  6. A groin guard if needed
  7. Proper clothing to absorb sweat
  8. Boxing boots

Protective wearables could be the difference between coming out of a boxing match with a few light bruises or losing your teeth. A boxing coach should determine what types of equipment should be used for what types of fighting or training. A boxer should make sure their equipment fits well and doesn’t hinder their movement.

2. Use Petroleum Jelly

One of the oldest tricks in the book, petroleum jelly helps to prevent painful facial lacerations and friction burns. Not only that but petroleum jelly also helps to deflect your opponent’s blows as they slide more easily off the face.

Petroleum jelly can also help with minor cuts and grazes to the skin, and even applying it after friction burns can help. Its emollient properties soothe the skin and it creates a barrier between open wounds and the elements. Although, generally, cuts should be cleaned and dressed if they are substantial and if they bleed.

Choose a petroleum Jelly that is 100% pure and doesn’t contain fragrances or other additives to reduce the chance of irritation.

3. Pre-Match Checks

Boxer and Boxing Coach Stands in Corner Ring

Certain pre-match checks must be done in accordance with national governing body regulations. Every player in a boxing match should have a pre-match medical performed by a trained professional to ensure they are fit to play.

Boxers should also be matched based on age (18-40, Youth, Junior, Schools, and Minor, as well as adults) and weight. A boxing coach should confirm this well in advance of the match.

It’s also important to make sure you have every piece of first aid equipment you might need to hand. Check your boxing first aid kit is fully restocked and confirm there is a working defibrillator on the premises and that you know where it is. Cardiac arrest can be fatal in just ten minutes so it’s important to act with haste if one occurs.

Find out everything you need to know about rules and best practices in boxing via the England Boxing 2021–2022 Rule Book.

4. Pre-Match Checks

Boxer Stretching Before Workout

Whether going into a match, sparring, or just training with the bag, stretching is important. Getting limber before action not only improves your performance, it also helps your muscles and ligaments cope with stretching and moving sharply in different directions.

Sprains and strains are not uncommon in boxing, either as a result of one isolated movement or as an overuse injury. Stretching arms, legs, and chest muscles is a vital step of the pre-boxing game. Don’t overlook your neck and spine too as these oft-forgotten areas have important roles in dodging and landing punches.

Just incorporating these three stretches will help to prepare your body for a boxing match:

  1. Standing Toe-up Calf & Achilles Stretch
  2. Rotating Stomach Stretch
  3. Assisted Reverse Shoulder Stretch

5. Ice Injuries

Icing an impact injury can drastically improve the trauma area and make the fighter feel more comfortable. Following a blow to the face, blood vessels under the skin can burst to cause blood to rush into that area, trapped under the skin. This is a haematoma and often affects the delicate tissue around the eye (causing a black eye).

Icing a haematoma slows and stops bleeding beneath the surface of the skin by causing the blood vessels to constrict. This helps to reduce swelling and stem the severity of the injury. An ice pack can also be used to the same end on strained and torn muscles and sprained tendons.

Keeping an instant ice pack to hand is ideal when going into a boxing match. There’s no need for a freezer to keep your ice pack frozen, an instant ice pack uses an endothermic reaction to cool down.

6. PPE and Infection Control

Post-pandemic we are all well-versed on the importance of PPE to protect us against spreading and catching Covid-19 and so you should check that appropriate measures are in place.

But boxing also poses another infection transmission threats due to exposure to cuts, grazes, open wounds, and blood splatters. It’s highly important to minimise the chance of transmission of bloodborne infection, or getting germs into an open wound. We recommend the following pieces of equipment to keep everything clean:

  • Cotton-tipped swabs: for applying petroleum jelly, antiseptic, and other medicines.
  • Nose plugs: stem nosebleeds and help fighters get back to the bout, prevent blood splatters.
  • Nitrile gloves: treat wounds hygienically and protect yourself from body fluids.

7. Mental Health

Boxing has myriad mental health benefits, from reducing anxiety and stress levels to boosting confidence and inclusivity within your gym.

But its also important that we look after each other’s health in boxing too. Making sure you’re in the right headspace to go into a fight. England Boxing’s Wellbeing Wednesdays offers some useful resources on mindfulness in boxing.

8. Report Safety Concerns

Help to keep the whole sport of boxing safe by looking out for yourself, your fighter, and others around you. If you see or experience something that puts you in undue danger or just doesn’t feel safe, report your concerns to your regional association. You can find a list of all regional boxing associations on the England Boxing website.

Don’t worry about reporting a gym or professional if you deem their behaviour to be dangerous, it’s important to protect everyone in boxing so that matches can go on safely. Your regional association may conduct an investigation and won’t necessarily reveal where they got the information from.

The Right Boxing First Aid Supplies

Steroplast Medical Boxing First Aid Kit

Put your boxing safety skills into practice with a boxing medical kit. Our Sterosport Boxing Medical Kit is designed to support all your first aid needs in the ring. We developed the kit alongside physiotherapists and cutmen to make sure everything included is exactly what you need for the most common boxing injuries and emergencies.

If you prefer to put your own boxing first aid kit together, use our definitive checklist for boxing first aid kit contents.

We also offer some of the highest quality boxing hand wrap, KO wrap and conforming bandage in the industry. Find a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to wrap your hands for boxing in our blog.

Boxing Safety Training

Be the best boxing coach, cornerman, cutman, or boxer you can be with all the right first aid and injury rehab training. Find out what training is required of you by GB Boxing, the national governing body of boxing in the UK in our guide to sports first aid courses.

Join Sterosport’s Injury Rehab Network (IRN) for continued professional development to offer the very best support for sports safety and injury recovery. We bring together experts, students, and amateurs from the worlds of medical, academic, sport, and health to foster networking, innovation, and professional development.

Find out about upcoming events in the IRN


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