Combat Corner develops gloves that reduce likelihood of boxer’s fracture

Combat Corner Professional
Menomonee Falls
Innovation: Combat sports gloves that resist fractures

When a boxer or mixed martial arts fighter punches an opponent, the positioning of his hand can have an impact on whether a bone will break.
Too little support on the side of the hand allows the bones room to spread horizontally, which can lead to a fracture of a metacarpal bone, commonly referred to as a boxer’s fracture.
Menomonee Falls-based Combat Corner Professional has designed a couple of its gloves to provide stability that can prevent these injuries, which can sidetrack an athlete for months.
The company manufactures martial arts products, including gloves. Its Pinnacle Boxing Gloves and Super Pro MMA Fight Gloves offer additional support to the hand to guide it correctly during a blow.

Combat Corner in May moved into a 10,000-square-foot facility, which is more than double the size of its previous space, and has added three new employees as a result, for a total of seven. The company was founded in 2007 in West Allis, and has moved to three progressively larger spaces since then to accommodate its growth. The new space has more warehouse room and a showroom area devoted to demonstrating how the products are used.
Combat Corner designs combat sports equipment and apparel, including custom stitching, embroidery, padding and materials, which are contract manufactured overseas. Combat Corner performs additional screen printing, sublimation and re-labeling in-house. Most of its approximately 160 products, from punching bags to headgear, are emblazoned with its logo and/or the logo of a martial arts school.
Most of the company’s customers are U.S. martial arts schools, which derive a portion of their revenue from selling school-branded gear. Combat Corner also sells its products internationally, including through a licensed distribution deal with a large retailer in Norway.
“Everyone wants their uniform of their equipment to have their school brand,” said Dan LaSavage, owner of Combat Corner. “When it comes down to the customer artwork, a lot of times they’re just giving us ideas. If (the martial arts schools are) successful, we’re succeeding.”

Combat Corner makes a variety of equipment used in professional fighting, including gloves and headwear.

LaSavage is a former amateur boxer and professional muay thai and MMA fighter who decided to form the company – along with Scott Joffe and Duke Roufus, owners of Milwaukee martial arts academy Roufusport – at a time when MMA was just starting to become popular. Equipment was lacking at that time, he said.
“The sport was so young really in its popularity that the stuff wasn’t so great,” he said. “Being involved in the sport for as long as I have…when it came to designing my own products, I had a lot of insight about what would make the best products.”
LaSavage spent a lot of time deciding which padding compound to use in which gloves, and how much padding to put in different areas of the gloves. Too much, and an opponent could grab onto an MMA glove during grappling; not enough, and the wearer is at risk of an injury.
“There’s not a ton of different types of padding that work well, but choosing the padding is important,” he said. “When it comes down to every single material and placement, we choose that.”
While many MMA gloves have wide open palm spaces to provide freedom of movement for grappling, Combat Corner added a side strap in its Super Pro version that keeps the bone structure from shifting.
“It basically makes the hand into a cast,” LaSavage said. “Everyone had a strap…but no one was encasing the hand. It’s a very small detail, but it makes a big difference.”

The company has developed the stitching and padding in its Pinnacle Boxing Glove to hold the hand in a way that reduces the likelihood of fractures.

So far, no one wearing the Super Pro gloves has broken a hand in a professional match. But in one MMA event in Milwaukee recently, four fighters broke their hands wearing another brand of glove, LaSavage said.
And the Pinnacle Boxing Gloves’ safety features have also been well-received. The special stitching on the Pinnacles positions the hand at a slight downward angle and tucks the thumb into the hand. A strong wrist closure strap keeps the hand still, and the stitching is added in a way that reduces bulkiness between the fingers that could spread the bones.
“Boxing gloves have been around for a long time,” LaSavage said. “We’re not exactly recreating the wheel. A lot of times we’re just making the wheel better.”

The Super Pro MMA Fight Glove.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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