The protective cup is a large, padded protector that helps to absorb the force of punches taken on the hips and groin area. This isn’t anything like a Little League cup.
In fact, the padding starts at the navel and extends around the hips and down into the groin area, so that the protection area is very large. The term “cup” is actually very deceiving since the boxer’s protective cup is more akin to a heavily-padded girdle that extends downwards.
During actual competition, the cup is worn underneath the shorts. During sparring, most boxers wear them over the shorts. Some fighters opt not to wear headgear during sparring, but no one opts not to wear a protective cup. The reasons are obvious. This is one area where you should not hesitate to pay for quality.
Joe Frazier says, “A large percentage of the fighters that you see writhing around on the canvas after taking a low blow are trying to get a point out of the referee or looking for a rest. It’s almost impossible to get very hurt by a low blow that lands straight on the protector.”1 Knowing that you won’t get hurt from a low blow in 99% of cases while wearing a cup takes one more thing off of your (long) list of everything that could go wrong while fighting. This peace of mind alone is worth buying a well-made cup.
1. Frazier, Joe. Box Like the Pros. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005