To fully understand the demand I placed on this new product it seemed appropriate to outline the context of their use. Though my love of boxing stretches back a life-time, and the last seven years as a part-time freelance writer have enabled me to meet many of my heroes and, on occasion, enjoy the luxury of ringside seats too, I only ventured into the local Amateur gym back in September, at the ripe old age of 34.
Why? Well apart from retiring from the mud and guts of local league football last summer, following the arrival of my second daughter – many of you with young families will recognise the connection between the two events – it struck me as a necessary step if I were to improve as a writer and begin to understand the physical and mental struggles inherent in fighting professionally.
Which isn’t to suggest I have a modicum of ability, two broken noses accrued in a playground and street fight record of 0-1-1 (0ko) is not the stuff of legend. Nor do my twice weekly visits to the Haverhill club provide a genuinely comprehensive insight in to the life of a real fighter; the weight making, the road running, the diet, the self-doubt, the inherent risk, the financial hardship and the life-style sacrifices required to survive, let alone flourish in the hardest sport of all remain a mystery. I would, I believed, at least begin to appreciate more of the technical aspects of the sport and understand the emotional reality of being punched in the face.
My natural inability to step sideways when under attack assuring the latter is a phenomenon I’ve already fully explored.
The first thing that strikes you about the EverGel Glove Wraps is the colour, bright, almost neon, yellow. This small fact may seem trivial but it can make a novice in a new gym feel very distinctive, and nobody wants to feel or appear like the rich prat with all the ‘gear’ and no idea how to use it do they?
But I took the plunge and persevered. The wraps themselves were arguably too tight from the off, being a medium, though they did make the bag or sparring gloves feel more secure and snug. Featuring three different adjustable Velcro straps to fix them, the wraps proved uncomfortably tight at first, numbing my finger tips in my left when sparring – of course adrenalin ensured this went unnoticed until I got back out of the ring but hardly a ringing endorsement. It’s amazing what a more competent or aggressive sparring partner can help you forget or fail to notice, if even for a minute or two.
As the weeks have gone by I’ve grown quite attached to the wraps, OK they remain the only pair in the gym as most prefer the traditional material wraps. And while I’m usually an advocate of old school, they’ve done the job without the need to learn how to wrap your hands ‘properly’ or the minute or two involved.
However, I must confess to subsequent disappointment at the longevity of the EverGel Glove Wraps, perhaps it is because they’re a little too small for me, but stitching has become frayed and sections have split. It hasn’t yet made them less usable but given the amount I’ve worn them it remains disheartening to see a product from a premier supplier, marketed as a premier solution begin to fail so quickly.
On the whole, the wraps perform the task they’re asked to: easy to get on, protect the knuckle area successfully and provide some support to the wrist. I doubt, with their current quality of manufacture they would remain pristine in the hands of a more serious fighter for a whole season.
All in all a mixed verdict, but as a superstitious type yet to have his much cracked nose broken while wearing them they’ve become a lucky omen. Or did I just jinx myself? You see, they were right when they said boxing was 90% mental.
Hopefully, the next review will be Everlast footwear, currently winging its way to me from America. Now if they’re bright yellow too, I could be in real trouble with my more seasoned gym mates.
EverGel Gym Wraps are available for retail at around £14.99 in the UK, or $24.99 direct from Everlastboxing.com