Review: Gloves, Protection, Wraps & Gear (BGV9, MS-400, Casanova Headgear & Guard, VL-B, Etc.)

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment Reviews' started by tomhanks, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. tomhanks White Belt

    Jun 18, 2014
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    •• apologies for the long title. sherdog was a helpful forum when i was searching for gear, and i wanted to make the post easily searchable. i am an infrequent visitor to the forums, but have found myself back here in search for new sparing gloves. with some boxing and gear experience under me, i wanted to share my impressions of the gear i use and dont use. ive lost hours reading though spread posts on equipment and wanted to add my thoughts to the pool. hopefully save you a few hours digging on sherdog.

    •• training habits / experience of your reviewer: i have been training in boxing for 5 years, and have only used my equipment for boxing. my hands are medium sized, and have not experienced any hand or wrist problems. i am at the gym 2-3 times a week and in the ring sparring about ever week or two. i have fought in one exhibition fight, but do not have any amateur or professional experience. before boxing i was an international competitor in fencing, a sport with no interesting gear.

    ••• gear on review •••

    • top king 16oz boxing glove
    • fairtex bgv9 16oz
    • topboxer 16oz "soft" imf
    • winning ms400 12oz
    • casanova headgear
    • casanova groin guard
    • wraps : winning vl-b, ambra le roy 200, everlast 180
    • jumprope : buddy lee aero speed

    ••• the goods •••

    ••• gloves •••


    •my first pair of boxing gloves. purchased through my gym when i was training in india, i unfortunately do not know the model name of this pair. they appear to be closest to the "empower" line being offered by top king. i used these gloves for a year in bag, pad & sparring. they are full leather construction with no vent holes in the glove. they have an attached thumb, and seem to be intended for boxing. the construction is very good on the glove, considering their lower price (paid about $50 us). in hand the gloves feel appropriate to their price. the leather is not particularly rich, and light/unsubstantial (possibly due to its padding distribution) in a way that my other gloves of the same weight do not feel. i think the burger king / ed hardy logo is pretty dumb. if these gloves were excellent, that might put me off using them. fortunately they are not. these see the light of day as my go-to sparring loaner. after a year and change, the leather & liner are still in excellent shape and the padding doesnt feel any different. the strap, however, has stretched (was always too long) to a length that has made a tight fit hard to achieve. as a result, the great wrist padding doesn't offer much support.

    •the liner is some synthetic blend. like the inside liner of a rain jacket. while not luxurious feeling, it seems to be high quality. the padding on the glove is much different then the other gloves i own. the glove offers great protection to the knuckles, but there is a significant amount of padding on the back of the glove. this makes the glove feel bulky in the ring. the back hand padding can be felt though the glove, and does create a sung hand compartment, which is a plus. the pocket feels good, if a little wide for me. thumb position is natural for me. on the bag these gloves do have some pop, but do not feel as nice as the winning or fairtex with contact.

    •• summary - i have had a great experience with every piece of thai gear i have used, and these gloves are no exception. compared to title and ringside equipment ive used offered in the same bracket, i would side with this pair. that being said, i would look to boon, fairtex or twins over top king. the way the closure has stretched out makes these gloves annoying to use. if i was buying a first glove in this ballpark, i would give twins a go first.

    FAIRTEX BGV9 16oz (mexican style bag glove) (first edition)

    •this is my second pair of bgv9s. from what i have read there are two different editions of this glove. the newer one offers slightly different construction and padding. this is the only fairtex glove i have owned, and have only tried their other models in stores. from every experience ive had with fairtex, the quality of the work/materials is much more in line with premium brands (winning / reyes) then other manufacturers. i paid something like $85 for this pair. both were bought through amazon. these are by far my favorite gloves, and am really sad this version is no longer available. ive never used the second incarnation of the bgv9s, but ill be buying them when this pair wears out. i had my first pair for 2 years, and gave them to a friend who was starting to box. they were in great shape, but the leather was showing its age from use. imagine there was another 2-3 years left in them. ive had my current pair for a year and look good as new.

    •i bought this pair after the top kings, wanting a dedicated bag glove. i was advised to get a 16oz, and am happy i did. the narrow profile makes these gloves feel agile, and i like the weight for training and power. the feel and sound these gloves give is different from anything ive seen or used. contact is incredibly satisfying on pads and bags. even though i purchased my 12oz winnings with padwork in mind, i reach for these more often. i cant find any faults in the construction, and the leather looks & feels good. the cuff is long and offers great support. thumb placement feels natural. this glove has a short pocket for the fingers, and mine press against the end of the glove. its not great at first. every review ive read complains about this, and everyone seems to say they get used to it. probably the leather stretches and accommodates like good shoes. either way, i had the same experience. frustrating at first, fine after a while. nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    •overall these gloves are stiff and hard, but very protective. cant open my hand. never minded, because these are not sparring gloves. they hit like bricks, and come with an advisory from fairtex to keep these away from the ring. in that way they are a false promise. they give you a pop that wont ever feel as nice with sparring gloves. none that ive seen. im still searching.

    •• summary - if your looking for a dedicated bag glove and willing to spend around $90, i cant recommend this glove higher. always surprised ive never seen them around the clubs ive been through, though its nice to have something unique. they are protective and offer excellent support. feel and look great. as mentioned above, the quality seems to be approaching and more in line with the high end family of boxing gear. as mentioned above, i find myself more drawn to these gloves then my customs or winning.


    •a lot has been said elsewhere about this glove. im gonna take a shortcut and say that i have never disagreed with anything ive read about others reviewing this glove. great craftsmanship, materials, fit, liner, look, customer service, buying experience, etc. its true what others have said, buying from mr. irfan was a pleasure and his products are a steal for what he / his craftsman offer. i cant take these gloves out without receiving a few complements, and they alone have generated a few referrals to topboxer. unfortunately, i took a chance on imf fill, and learned it is not my favorite feel in a glove. these are my sparring gloves, and are always a pleasure to lace up, but can feel a little numb compared to other great topboxer layered gloves. others have written glowingly about this fill. i think its just not for me. they are still a pleasure to use, but ive been thinking about a new pair when i can shell out for them. my mind has been circling classics for a while.

    •• summary - dont hesitate to buy these gloves if you have the money and time needed. id advise you try if possible. if not, speak to mr. irfan about what your looking for in a glove. he is very helpful. something to note. while the liner is incredibly fine (like an expensive neoprene on an overpriced neck pillow) it does get roughed up by lazy hand wrap velcro. if the velcro is not completely lined up with he closure (or is older) it tears and bunches at the liner. doesnt in any way effect the use, but it sure doesnt feel as fancy in there anymore.

    WINNING MS-400 12oz

    •i purchased these glove in march at a boxing equipment store on a trip though japan. i had been thinking about buying a pair (that i didnt really need) as a bag and pad glove to rotate with my fairtex, but was unwilling until i could try a pair of these out. again, so much has been written about these gloves, with pretty unanimous opinion. i dont have anything controversial to say. yes, the leather is beautiful. yes, the pocket is the most natural and comfortable i have ever used. yes, the velcro closure is not terribly supportive. yes, i dont really mid that it is not terribly supportive. yes, the liner is rougher then other fancy gloves. yes, thats not an issue either. yes, it is incredible how much protection it gives based on its size, perceived weight and bulk.

    •its hard not to love these gloves. as a piece of craftsmanship alone, they feel deserving of the astronomical price. and consider its not insane for hand made leather gloves, that are simply gloves, to cost in this neck of the woods. to me these are an unnecessary luxury. one that i am happy that i spent the money to be able to indulge in. the bag and the pad contact feel better with my fairtex gloves, but everything else is next level with the winnings. now, to any sane person, the feedback from contact is 90% of how one values a glove. in that respect, the winning looses decisively to the 1/3 rd cost fairtex. but the winnings makes you consider things that you dont in other gloves. the pocket is perfect, and your aware, constantly, that your hands are light, powerful, and comfortable. it is the difference of a canvased and fused suit. it just fits right. a right that you both forget about and are constantly aware of.

    •• summary - cant see anyone disappointed in a purchase of a pair of winnings. the question of "are they worth it" comes down to priority. their craftsmanship and performance seems in line with what winning charges (with a mind to top of the line leather goods / top of the line sporting goods). they are certainly not "needed" by someone training at my level. these gloves are one craftsman's vision of the ideal boxing gloves. even if they are not your style (and in some respects, they do not seem to be mine) you will appreciate them and enjoy using them. these gloves get much less use then my fairtex and topboxer gloves, though i have started to rotate them more to extend the life of the bgv9s.



    •in many ways this is my favorite piece of gear. the headgear is a beautiful blend of form and function. i find it can be unhelpful in these types of reviews to break down gear aspect by aspect, especially as anyone reading this has probably become numb to the hyperbole in most reviews. i will say that this headgear feels and looks like it was made with love. winning gear has the same feeling. a sense that every aspect was considered and made to the best of the craftspersons ability with the constraints they were working in. in the winning glove review, i wrote that they were one craftsperson's idea of perfection. i feel the same about this headgear. I do not own casanova gloves, and therefor can not make a call on their craftsmanship overall. I recently purchased a casanova groin guard. the craftsmanship on the two items does not seem to be quite in line. same family. maybe the difference between a polo/rrl, toyota/lexus, squire/strat. theres something special about this headgear, and I love to throw it on.

    •protection is excellent. my nose runs dry, and i find it bleeding less after sparring with this headgear. apart from that, its hard to make a call on the quality of its protection. guess ill know in a few decades. what i can say is, this gear never leaves me wanting for more protection. the gear disappears to the point that i dont think about it when sparring. the gear makes me look good. some details are love/hate. the laces on the back can be frustrating with wrapped hands. same with the chin belt buckle. but i wouldnt have it any other way. the velcro always looks sloppy, even on beautifully made headgear and the laces/buckle give me a perfect fit. there are some inconsistencies in the construction. for example, the left and right cheek arent 'exactly' the same same shape (only on very close inspection). the effect of this is positive though. it gives the gear a sense that it is truly a hand made piece. the inconsistencies of hand made work rather than sloppy work.

    •• summary - deciding to buy a high end headgear, i was torn between putting money into a winning set or a mexican set. i decided on casanova because of some scattered reviews. thought it was the best looking set available. now having tried many other sets, i have never regretted this buy. it can be tough shopping for this type of equipment without a place to test it or even handle it first. i dont think i can offer much help on that front. i bought blind. but my experience with this piece of equipment has been excellent. at the time of this review, this headgear is $125 on casanova's website. after a year of moderate use, only the logo and laces show age. i feel great about the value/price for this piece of headgear. another highly recommended piece of gear.


    • short and sweet here. wanted to get a guard to match for my sparring set. was using inherited title gear before. the overall impression is very similar to the headgear. simple and beautiful form and function. strong leather smell out of the box. just some small things left a different taste then the review above. there were some divots in the padding. that sort of 'push your finger into styrofoam' impression you get on gear sometimes. maybe 3 small spots like that. the leather is cut and glued around the interior cup of the groin. the ends of leather material is folded into a non-visible area. i am guessing because the "cup" material is solid, it can not be stitched. when i received my groin guard, the glue had released a bit, and some of the leather was peeling from this area. inconsequential to the function of the equipment, but it looked like a hallmark of sloppy construction. certainly wasnt a deal breaker. really only bugged me when i unwrapped it and havent thought about it since. i was not left with that feeling of "made with a pursuit of perfection". but, gear looks great. gear works great.

    •• summary - at the writing of this review, the price point for this guard is $120. I still feel like the price/value is good. imagine youd get more consistency in construction with brands like reyes, winning & rival. i still think the casanova protective gear is the best looking. and as long as it works and the price/value works, look will win out with me. maybe not the best value on the market, but if your building a matched set of headgear and guard, i highly recommend casanova.


    •• wraps ••

    •let me preface by saying i can be a somewhat anal about these. after each use, i lay out my wraps to dry. once fully dry i roll them starting with the velcro so the thumb loop is on the outside. i use a bobby pin to secure the thumb loop to the rolled wrap. while this is completely unnecessary and time consuming, i throw boxing on the tv, and the whole things is pretty cathartic. the reason i roll them like this is to ease the hand wrapping in the gym. pin off, thumb on, and the tightly rolled wrap goes around my hand like two reel to reel wheels. some reason this feels much more satisfying, and the wrap tension is always consistent on my hands/wrists.

    •wanted to describe the process, because it effects the way i feel about the wraps i have come across over the years. of the three wraps in rotation, my least favorite are the le roys. the length is excellent and the feel is good (wish they were more elastic) but there are a few annoying things here. first, the velcro length never lines up. its alway a little off and scratches the liner of my gloves. really done a number on my topboxers. second, ive had the velcro section torn off on two sets of wraps. yes, these are cheap, but they tore both after only a few uses. third, these crinkle up aggressively after use and impossibly after washing. its makes them a pain in the ass to roll again, so i avoid using them unless i have to.

    •the winning wraps are otherworldly. great length and feel. much more like gauze then ribbon. long length. excellent stretch. but if the le roys are annoying to re-roll, these are pure hell. the gauze not only crinkles, but rolls into itself in a way that takes 3 times as long to roll up each wrap. because of the hassle, i use these when i spar, and shelve them for training. special occasion wraps.

    •i have had the best relationship with the 180" everlast mexican style wraps. i have a few paris and use them on rotation. had this round for about a year, and the velcro is just showing signs of wear. great elasticity of the wrap itself, decent length, and does not crinkle nearly as much after use or washing. i find the velcro is a little long, so i just cut it. (you cant cut the le roy to fit properly because it is sewn into the wrap itself. the everlast only has the end of the velcro sewn into the wrap. while it looks a little cheaper, the benefit to change the length is really helpful)

    •• summary - for $10, the convenience of availability at any major sports store, and the overall quality, go buy a few pairs of everlast 180" wraps. if you want an annoying treat, get a pair of winning VL-Bs for about 20$. in my experience, avoid the le roy 220".
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
    florinul, hangulmalmotayo and iFossil like this.
  2. iFossil Orange Belt

    Feb 4, 2016
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    Nice read and info there.

    Just a casual side note, most, if not all Top Kings gloves are now different to the one you have there, they are now made with fully leather strap and have a great wrist support design. So yeh..not too much of a reason to disregard the whole brand, esp compare to like Twins etc.

    And the Acadia gloves look so good. lol
  3. Minowafanatic Black Belt

    Sep 28, 2010
    Likes Received:
    ^the Arcadia gloves are the Topboxer ones, just with a custom logo

    nice reviews, tend to dislike soft IMF also
    iFossil likes this.

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