In a year where she was previously due to appear in her first-ever main event, Kim Clavel has never before anticipated a fight more so than the one that’s up next.
The unbeaten junior flyweight from Montreal, Canada will make her United States debut, serving as part of an ESPN-televised show airing live Tuesday evening from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Clavel (11-0, 2KOs) takes on fellow unbeaten contender Natalie Gonzalez (6-0, 2KOs) in a scheduled eight-round contest in supporting capacity to the evening’s headliner between former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21KOs) and Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez (29-6-1, 21KOs).
“I feel great. It’s a good opportunity for me to fight here in the USA,” Clavel told BoxingScene.com of her first fight south of the US-Canada border. “I know I have a good fan base in Canada, but now I want to show the USA who is Kim Clavel.
“I am here fighting on the Top Rank card on ESPN and can’t wait to get in the ring.”
Clavel was previously scheduled to top a March 21 show versus Mexico’s Esmeralda Moreno—a former two-time junior flyweight titlist—in her Montreal hometown. The event—like so many others around the world from mid-March through early June—was shut down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
For her part, Clavel used the downtime from the sport to combat the infectious disease directly on the front line, serving as an on-call nurse for the past three months. The heroic efforts put forth by the 29-year old were well recognized at the 2020 ESPY Awards in June, where she won the Pat Tillman Award for service—the first-ever non U.S. born athlete to receive the honor.
When the opportunity came to return to the ring, she switched out from her nurse’s scrubs to her ring gear for her first career fight outside of Canada.
The bout versus Gonzalez—an unbeaten 29-year old from New Rochelle, New York—is part of a four-fight undercard preceding the main event. It will take place without fans in attendance, as opposed to the rabid support she would have enjoyed had her March headliner managed to see the light of day.
Through it all, she believes everything worked out for the better in her young career.
“The fight I have with Natalie is a bigger opportunity for my career,” insists Clavel. “The fight in Montreal (in March) was going to be my first main event, but I am known there. To become known in the United States is big for me, and something I need for my career.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox