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Army-Navy Boxing Gloves

Army-Navy Light-Heavyweight Championship, 1928


Two brown leather boxing gloves

Title: Glove, Boxing, Army-Navy Light-Heavyweight Championship, Donald (Denny) Vaughn Lenhart
Accession #: NHHC 2020.056
Circa: 1928
Size: 10.75 x 7.0 x 2.0 (for both gloves)
Medium: Leather
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command


Two boxing gloves from the 1928 Army-Navy Light-Heavyweight Championship Match. The gloves were worn by Army-Navy Light-Heavyweight Champion, Donald “Denny” Lenhart. The text on the obverse side of one of the gloves is "DENNY LENHART/ALL SERVICE/CHAMPIONSHIP/1928" while the other glove’s inscription is no longer readable. The outside of each glove is orange-red while the inside of each glove is white. The inside of the glove is padded with other fabrics to protect fingers and hands from damage during a boxing match. This glove has shoelace ties that would go around the boxer's wrist during a match. The reverse side of the glove contains 5 holes that would have been centered on the palm of the boxer's hand.


Boxing Aboard a U.S. Navy warship during the early 1900s.
Caption: Boxing Aboard a U.S. Navy warship during the early 1900s. Post card, mailed at Newport, Rhode Island, 9 July 1908.

Navy sporting events have formed an important part of the life of sailors since the Navy’s founding. Many of these first athletic events came out of shipboard drill, such as climb-the-rigging races or boat races. Some of the earliest boxing matches in the Navy appear to have been impromptu events coming out of settling personal grudges between sailors. Boxing matches often were clandestine events that ran contrary to shipboard policy.

With the transition to a steam-powered Navy from a sail-powered Navy, officers were concerned that the sailors under their command would not get enough exercise. As a result, more organized sporting events began to take shape.


Close up of single leather boxing glove

By 1900, Navy Regulations explicitly mentioned boxing as an appropriate sport for participation in the fleet. It was also believed that events such as boxing could improve morale during long voyages and could be used to attract new recruits to the service.

These boxing gloves from 1928 show the passion that existed for such events back then and our continued interest in those events today.

Both boxing and Army-Navy events have only grown in popularity and these gloves are a reminder of this historic rivalry and how Navy athletics still play a role in fleet’s life today.




Recruiting Poster: What the Navy is Doing: Navy Boxing
Caption: Recruiting poster showing a match held at the Great Lakes Training station, Illinois.
Published: Wed Dec 09 14:24:03 EST 2020