Usually the Christmas break is a time to eat, drink and be merry… and return to the office in the New Year with a slightly larger waistline. Whilst I plan on thoroughly enjoying the festivities, I’m determined not to let my fitness suffer as we enter the new decade. Christmas came early for me, so, equipped with my new Yokkao Apex Leopard Gloves, as the bulk of the family tucks into mince pies and sherry, I lure my brother away to hold some pads for me in the garage.
Since it’s best that we don’t do any sparring (brothers can get a little competitive, as we all know), I left my 16oz gloves at home in Scotland and opted for my new 12oz Yokkaos. Despite being only 4oz lighter, the difference is amazing and makes for a much more enjoyable pad workout.
Yokkao are the crème de la crème of Thai Boxing gloves. Handmade in Thailand they are incredibly robust and boast some stunning designs. But I’m not just in it for the aesthetics. These gloves are built to last with double-stitched seams and make me the envy of my gym mates. Or in this case, my younger brother in my parents’ garage.
As with all real cowhide leather gloves, they are a little stiff on first use but after a few decent combination drills on the pads they start to ease up and soon are about as comfy as it gets. Size wise, they fit… erm… like a glove.
Yokkao sponsor an impressive array of top Muay Thai fighters and anything that is worn by fan favourite Saenchai is good enough for me. And I doubt he’s skipping a workout today. Yokkao host workshops all over the world and Saenchai has even held a session at my Muay Thai gym in Edinburgh.
After an hour’s workout, I think we’ve earned some Christmas cake. Lots of Christmas cake. But as I unstrap the Velcro wrist cuffs that feature a 3D embossed Yokkao logo, my brother asks if he can swap from holding the beaten-up pads and have a go with the gloves. Well, it is Christmas after all.
To get yourself a pair of Yokkao gloves, have a look at their website and follow them on Instagram for updates on their products, events and fighters.
John Harfield is a travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh and one of our regular contributors.
Photographs by Melanie Chenoweth
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