Confusion surrounds the potential status of the Fly brand of boxing gloves after the WBC stated that the brand are not to be worn in any contest sanctioned by the governing body due to safety concerns.

In an email sent to various national and local boxing commissions, as well as various managers and promoters on July 14, a copy of which has been seen by Boxing Social, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman stated: “As a matter primary safety priority, until further consultations, the brand “Fly” of boxing gloves are NOT to be worn in any World Boxing Council boxing match. There is a delicate report which we are attaching to this communication, which shows extreme defects which can result of great danger to the combatants.

“We need to determine whether the gloves used in the bouts described below, were individually defective, or there is a specific design issue, which must be rectified immediately before the glove could be re-authorised, only following detailed consultation. 

“The considerable wear and shape change and immunization of padding, which occurred radically changed their shape. It is a matter of great concern and gravity, as well as the lack of support those particular gloves offered, causing considerable pain and injuries to the hands. Also their rapid fading discoloration during the bouts.

“The World Boxing Council has worked hand in hand with a number of glove specialists and manufacturers, insisting on the highest overall quality and integrity of design across the spectrum, with safety as the number one consideration. The very present and future health of boxers is at stake.”

Sulaiman’s email includes a report and images relating to a May 21 bridgerweight elimination contest between Evgeny Romanov and Dmitry Kudryashov for the WBC silver belt, in which both boxers wore Fly KYO 10 ounce gloves.

Ahead of the report, Sulaiman states: “We would like all of you to please carefully and fully read the account below and look at the photos which graphically as well as starkly illustrate the problem at hand. It something which MUST be rectified without delay. The WBC will never accept second best in this matter.”

Part of the report referred to by Sulaiman which is included with the email reads as follows:

“The gloves after the fight of both fighters had a very bad condition and could be easily rolled: the padding looked as even didn’t hold the form of the gloves. The paint has worn off the gloves.

“After the fight Romanov had a suspicious to have a broken arm, but X-rays didn’t show it. Romanov says that never in his life he had such pain without having a broken arm. According to the comments of the boxers the gloves didn’t protect the arms. The amount of horse hair and synthetic material were not sufficient for this goals.”

Boxing Social approached various boxing governing bodies worldwide for their reaction to the communication from the WBC. At the time of writing, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) still features Fly gloves on its list of approved gloves (https://bbbofc.com/index.php/approved-gloves).

The Board simply told Boxing Social: “The British Boxing Board of Control are in communication with the manufacturer at the present time.”

Meanwhile, the State of Nevada Athletic Commission directed Boxing Social to the current list of approved gloves on their website, which lists the status of Fly foam and horsehair gloves as being “under review/pending approval”. (https://boxing.nv.gov/faq/sections/Glove_Questions/)

Finally, the New York State Athletic Commission told Boxing Social: “Fly gloves are still approved for use in New York. However, the New York State Athletic Commission is following the matter closely and we reserve the right to take any further action that may be warranted.

“All gloves approved in New York go through rigorous testing to receive approval, and each pair of gloves is thoroughly inspected both at the weigh-in and immediately pre-fight. Should any pair of gloves not meet our standards, they will not be permitted for use. At this time, we have not received any proposals to use Fly gloves at any upcoming professional boxing events.”

Fly gloves are a popular UK-based brand and have been worn by – among others – Dillian Whyte in his contests with Oscar Rivas and Alexander Povetkin and Dereck Chisora in his bouts against Oleksandr Usyk and Joseph Parker.

The company gave the following statement to Boxing Social after digesting the WBC’s decision to temporarily suspend Fly gloves from its contests.

‘Fly is aware that a communication has been sent by the World Boxing Council President to continental and national boxing federations, state and local boxing commissions, sanctioning boxing organisations and boxing promoters and managers.

“We are shocked and extremely disappointed that we were not contacted, or given a right of reply, prior to the claims made in the communication. Since learning of the report, Fly has attempted to contact the WBC several times, via multiple methods, and not received a response.

“The specific allegations in that communication pertain to a fight which took place on May 21 and no concerns were raised in the immediate aftermath of the bout by the fighter, promoter, the commissioning board or the WBC. The gloves in question were ordered and delivered to the exact specifications of the parties involved and were checked and approved for use by the board, the referee and the fighters before the fight took place.

“As a respected and popular equipment manufacturer, the quality and integrity of our products are the uppermost priorities for our brand. This is reflected by our position on the approved supplier lists for all major boxing commissions, including the British Boxing Board of Control, New York State Athletic Commission and California State Athletic Commission. Our gloves have been tested in accordance to the stringent standards these bodies have in place, proving the quality and safety of our products.

“Our gloves have also been worn by some of the best fighters in the world in recent years and the quality and safety of our gloves have never previously been called in to question by anyone who has worn the Fly brand. 

“We refute the WBC’s allegations unreservedly and question the validity of the ‘report’. We hope to be contacted soon by the WBC in order to resolve this matter. We will not be making any further comment whilst we consider our legal options.”