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Why boxers are wearing white gloves at Men's World Championships

Traditionally, boxers wear only red and blue gloves, for easier visibility. At the ongoing Men's World Championships in Belgrade, however, all boxers are wearing white.

Indias Akash Kumar in action at Mens World Championships (Source: Boxing Federation of India)

India's Akash Kumar in action at Men's World Championships (Source: Boxing Federation of India)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 3 Nov 2021 1:31 PM GMT

An unusual sight for boxing is being seen at the ongoing World Championships – boxers in both corners of the ring are wearing white gloves.

Traditionally, including at the Olympics, amateur boxers wear only red and blue gloves, even though more flashy colours like black, yellow, silver have been seen inside the professional boxing ring. These two colours are used simply because they are the two most prominent colours, helping make the movement of the gloves clearly visible by the referee, the judges and the audience.

Two opposite corners of a boxing ring are coloured blue and red and the other two are white. For easy identification by the referee, one of the boxers is assigned the blue corner and the other the red corner. The colour of the boxer's glove usually depends on the corner he has been assigned.

Boxing gloves at Tokyo 2020 (Source: Getty)

At the ongoing Men's World Championships in Belgrade, however, all boxers are wearing white.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) had introduced commemorative belts and 'white gloves' instead of the traditional red and blue, for the first time at this event, making the announcement last month. The white gloves, according to AIBA, symbolize a "fresh start" in the tainted sport.

'Fresh start'

AIBA President Umar Kremlev had said, "White gloves will symbolize the fresh start, fairness and transparency of our major events. We will do our utmost to ensure a fair chance for everyone."

The need for this fresh start came after the destructive revelations surrounding the 2016 Rio Olympics.

An independent investigation into boxing at the 2016 Rio Olympics had found a widespread of fixed matches in the qualifiers and the main event. According to reports published by investigator Richard McLaren, he found that referees and judges worked together and maneuver the bouts for money.

The reports also alleged that senior AIBA officials used their powers to select referees and judges and turned the commission. The morning before the games, these selected referees and judges were told who should win a particular bout at the Olympics.

The incident came into the limelight during a 2016 Olympics bout between Ireland's Michael Conlan and Russian Vladimir Nikitin. After the judges declared Nikitin as the winner, Conlan showed them his middle finger and later said that he has been "robbed".

The 2021 World Championships have begun in Serbia with India being one of the 100 countries to take part in this mega boxing event.

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