Throughout his entire life, Rival Founder and CEO, Russ Anber has been fascinated with designing, improving, and modifying all different types of sports equipment. Whether it was his own baseball glove, goalie equipment or designing his own "home-made" boxing gym, Russ always looked for better ways to increase and optimise their performance. When he began selling boxing gear in the mid-1980s, to subsidize his amateur boxing team, it didn’t take long for him to realize that few advancements had been in the designs and innovations of boxing equipment over the years.
From early on in his career as a trainer, Russ was constantly thinking of new ways to improve the equipment he had! Throughout those years, his ideas began to pile up. By early 2000, he knew it was time to put these innovations and designs into place. In 2003, and at a cost of $50.00 to register the company, he officially founded Rival Boxing Gear with the promise to "reinvent the industry”. He also knew that this was going to be his chance to implement all the ideas he had come up with over his last 20 years in the game.
Here are some of Russ’ designs, features, innovations, technologies, and inventions that Rival has introduced to the world as far back as 2003.
Air Cushion System
Our Air Punch Mitts are able to provide you with maximum protection when working with heavy hitters through our innovative use of the Air Cushion System. The secret within these mitts lies in the way the foam is cut and layered on the inside of the gloves, which allows air itself to be used as a natural cushioning and absorption system. Once the shell on the outer layer of the glove is assembled, the air cushion system ensures maximum comfort and protection.
Angled Lace Track System
Since the first pair of boxing gloves were made, there has always been a fundamental flaw with the design. More specifically, where the body of the glove met the cuff was never where the fighter’s wrist actually was. As a result, trainers were continually lacing and taping gloves above the spot where the body met the cuff, in order to securely fasten the glove around the wrist and offer the wrist support so desperately needed.
As a result, Rival re-engineered how gloves were designed and assembled. Inspired by the RS1 and by making the body of the glove shorter and the cuff higher, the Angled Lace Track — with its 15 degree angle — was born.
This innovative, creative, and logical design ensures that when a glove is laced, it is being tied right on the fighter’s wrist for a perfect anatomical fit, providing the wrist support you desire!
At Rival Boxing, we pay attention to the smallest details of ergonomics and anatomy. As an example, in some of our gloves we cut the wrist at a 15º so that it follows the natural angle of a boxer’s hands. With that detail in mind, we incorporated the conic design in our gloves. Take a look at the back of your hand: you’ll notice that the line from the top of your smallest finger to your wrist exists at an angle, and from your wrist to the forearm there’s a further angle. Unlike most other manufacturers, our glove design takes this into account. By having our wrist narrower than the end cuff of the glove which fits around the forearm, our gloves fit more securely around a boxer’s wrist, ensuring maximum comfort, stability and performance!
Across as many of our equipment lines as possible here at Rival we ensure that our designs are as ergonomically and anatomically effective as possible. This principle underpins all our design thinking, ensuring we pay particular attention to every aspect of each new idea we possibly can — whether it's ensuring the correct anatomical fit for our RNFL groin guard or ensuring gloves like the RB5 bag mitts fit securely, allowing you to make a perfect fist.
Ergo Lace Track System
After tying gloves thousands and thousands of times throughout his 20 years in the game, and having watched the different lace up patterns of trainers throughout history, Russ begin to realize that there was not only a pattern, but there was a reason and a logic as to how gloves were tied. When Rival created our first ever sparring glove, Russ wanted to implement some very important things. He wanted to contract a glove that:
1. Would perform as well, or better, than any other sparring glove on the market.
2. Top flight professionals would be able to use round after round with full confidence.
3. Would outlast anything they had ever used before.
4. Would incorporate a never before seen technology and design that Russ had envisioned for at least 15 years.
Hence, the “ERGO LACE TRACK SYSTEM” was born. Using a deep, criss-cross pattern around the lower wrist and an ergonomically correct 15 degree angle at the wrist, we created the absolute perfect fit when tying a lace-up glove, all while hiding the laces in the process. This paved the way for the birth of our first ever sparring glove, the RS1.
So successful was this concept, that our entire high-end line was built around this outstanding design. The culmination of this finally came a few years later when we introduced the “Angled Lace Track” to our pro fight gloves. Since then, we have introduced the “Angled Lace Track” on the RS100 Sparring Glove as well, and even altered the way we use the “Angled Design” on our Hook & Loop gloves.
All these designs are Rival inventions and our own original concepts. These elements have now become industry standards as more and more brands are attempting to enter the marketplace using the very ideas we originated more than 20 years ago.
Ergo Strap System
Innovation has always been at the forefront of what we do at Rival Boxing. In fact, our entry into the marketplace was based on a revolutionary concept which set us apart from the rest of the field.
Our vision has remained unchanged nearly two decades later. Take the development of the Ergo Strap System, for example. Before its introduction by Rival Boxing, most Hook & Loop gloves utilized a conventional 2” or 3” strap to attach the glove. This strap did little more than that, and offered no wrist support or stability. With a little thinking, a simple innovation came to be; Rival Boxing redefined what is ‘normal’.
The key to the success of the Ergo Strap System lies in its simplicity — replacing a conventional strap of uniform width with a strap that is wider at the palm side of the wrist, extending to 4” at its largest point, it thus ensuring greater comfort, stability and wrist support. It has since become an industry standard.
Ergo Strap Xtreme System
The Ergo Strap Xtreme System gives you the best ergonomic fit, tension and support, you need in a glove when using a single strap, Hook & Loop system instead of laces. By extending the width of the strap, especially in the wrist area, you get the maximum possible support and protection from a single-strap glove.
Ergonomic True Fist Construction
The RS100 sparring glove is one of the jewels in the crown here at Rival, partly because it utilizes our innovative and ingenious Ergonomic True Fist Construction system. When you place your hand in one of these gloves, the compartment allows you to comfortably close your fist in order to get the most natural fist position possible without there being any restrictions of uncomfortable pressure from the foam, and without having to bend the glove before your hand locks into its natural punching position. The principles of Ergonomic True Fist Construction ensure you can freely open or close your hand without disrupting the construction of the hand compartment of the glove. Comfort, security and maximum performance are guaranteed!
In as many of our products as possible, we seek to utilize the principles of Feather Lite — namely providing our customers with maximum performance and protection combined with the lightest weight of materials as possible. We seek to find any way that we can reduce our equipment’s size and mass in order to ensure efficiency. If we can find a lighter, thinner material that provides the same performance and endurance as something heavier or more traditional like leather, then we do so. Innovation and attention to detail is the Rival way, you see!
Intelli-Shock D3O™ is the best shock absorption padding in the world. We here at Rival were the first, and remain currently the only, company in the boxing or MMA world to use it. This incredible material has been a staple of some of our headgear and bag gloves for a decade or more. How effective is Intelli-Shock? Well, you get the equivalent protection in around a quarter (6mm) or an eighth of an inch (3mm) of Intelli-Shock padding that you would get roughly in one inch (25mm) of another padding. This is because it uses Intelligent Shock Absorption™, a patented shock absorbing material, engineered with Intelligent Molecules. At slow speeds, the molecules inside D3O™ flow freely, making it soft and flexible, whereas at high speeds the molecules lock together to become an excellent shock absorber. D3O™ offers considerably more protection than conventional foams, making it the perfect solution to enhance the internal protection in equipment and accessories. Our RB10 Intelli-Shock Bag Gloves, being a vehicle of this technology, hardens upon contact, and not only reduces the amount of energy transferred to the body by 40%*, which means that there is a drastic reduction of stress upon impact, but also makes the glove approximately 38% lighter than regular bag gloves with gel technology available on the market.
We believe that the ingenious parabolic design of our RPM5 Punch Mitts is the key to their popularity within the fight trade. These mitts look like a satellite dish — the unique and original parabolic design have a curved frontal scoop and a curved rear which fits perfectly into the palm of your hand. When you are wearing these pads, the parabolic design acts as a catcher’s mitt, enabling you to perfectly catch the punches being thrown. Made of a thin, hard, high density foam, the mitt reduces the effect of the impact on your elbows and shoulders.
When it became popular for punch mitts to be made with a curved front face, we here at Rival boxing soon realized that this created an empty space in between the wrist and the punch mitt. As a result, when you caught a punch, you weren’t getting the support your arm and wrist needed. Our answer to this problem? We designed the Wedge — a piece of high-density foam which fits in the space in between the punch mitt and the wrist, thereby enabling you to stabilize and control the mitt better. When you get hit, the Wedge equally absorbs the impact of the punch and also prevents the mitt from moving around giving you the stability and support you need. In short, the Wedge is yet another example of the unrivalled attention to detail that we pay to every piece of equipment we design.
With gloves that don’t have laces, the wrist is often the weakest and most vulnerable area of the glove. That’s a problem if you want to avoid subjecting your wrist to the possibility of unnecessary strain. Hence our creation of the Wrist Bolt! With this innovation, we extended the cuff of the glove and allowed it to run higher than where the wrist — and most gloves — ordinarily end. This design — coupled with our use of high-density foam — ensures that when you wear a set of Rival gloves with the Wrist Bolt feature, you are getting the maximum wrist support and protection possible from this type of construction.
When Rival Boxing was born, it was imperative that we offered products, designs, innovations, and technologies that had never been seen before in the boxing industry. Prior to Rival's invention of the Wrist Lock, most gloves on the market that used Hook & Loop had one basic flap that provided little wrist support, and therefore minimal replication of the experience of wearing a traditional lace-up glove. Developing a Hook & Loop system that could equal the beauty and simplicity of a laced glove was a huge challenge, which is where the Wrist Lock system came in.
When Rival produced their first ever bag glove, the RB1 — a hugely popular glove that has remained pretty much unchanged since its inception in 2003 — it marked not only the first time that a high-end, professional level glove would not be made of leather, but also incorporated the new and revolutionary Wrist Lock system into its design. In designing the glove, Rival Founder and CEO Russ Anber put his years in the gym to use and wanted to design a Hook & Loop attachment that would feel as close as possible to the security, stability and support that a conventional lace-up glove had. The simplicity and efficiency of the design revolutionized the industry.
The Wrist Lock system consists of a Hook & Loop strap with a piece of webbing that is fed through a polypropylene loop. By pulling on the loop, a fighter is then able to tighten the glove equally from both sides and secure it as tight as needed around their wrist, ensuring maximum support, wrist stability and comfort.
Wrist Lock 2
True to the philosophy behind Rival Boxing, we have a constant and consistent desire to evolve, improve and innovate. Our years spent “on the field of play” continues to drives us to go the extra step and make products that revolutionize the industry; Hence the development of the Wrist Lock 2 system.
Inspired by the success of its big brother, the Original Wrist Lock, Rival took their innovative thinking to the next level. Instead of remaining on the path of one dimensional adjustment, Rival invented the dual angle V-strap. Attaching to both the thumb side of the glove and the opposite side through a loop, the Wrist Lock 2 ensures that both sides of a glove, from the thumb all the way down the cuff, are squeezed equally when securing the strap. This is tantamount to tape being placed over the cuff of a professional fight glove.
Rival Boxing firmly believes that this system results in the closest replication possible of the comfort and stability of a fully laced glove, in a Hook & Loop glove.