Boxing champion Kim Clavel, who left the ring to return to nursing during the coronavirus pandemic, will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service at The ESPYS on June 21.
“It is an honor to receive the Pat Tillman Award on behalf of all the health care workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines,” said Clavel, a Quebec native. “Just as Pat put his NFL career on hold to serve his country, I felt the same duty to serve my community. Although recently I have pursued my dream of boxing, helping people is my passion and I’m proud to be able to make a difference.”
Clavel, who had compiled an 11-0 record since making her professional debut in December 2017, had taken a leave from nursing in August so she could devote her focus to boxing.
In December, she won the North American Boxing Federation flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Esmeralda Gaona Sagahon. Clavel was scheduled to face Esmeralda Moreno in a non-title fight on March 21, but the fight was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s when Clavel decided to put down her boxing gloves and return to nursing. She has been working as an overnight nurse at retirement and elderly care centers, treating the people most vulnerable to the virus.
“Choosing to return to the front lines of health care amid an unprecedented global pandemic, Kim personifies the spirit of service, duty and selflessness that Pat embodied,” said Marie Tillman, board chair and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “In spite of the dangers from COVID and delays to her budding boxing career, Kim chose to focus her energy on those most in need. In Pat’s name, we are honored to present the Tillman Award to Kim for her service and leadership in her healthcare work and throughout this crisis.”
The Pat Tillman Award for Service sponsored by MassMutual has been awarded at The ESPYS since 2014. The award is named after the former Arizona Cardinals star who left the NFL to serve in the military in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was killed in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.