Clavel and Plata clash in light-fly unification showdown
Whose luck will run out on Friday 13th?
Canadian Kim Clavel (16-0, 3KO) and Mexican Jessica Nery Plata (28-2, 3KO) clash in a light-flyweight unification fight with the WBA Super and WBC World titles on the line, broadcast live on FITE TV.
WBC champ Clavel gets the home advantage in Laval, a city in Quebec, on January 13 as WBA Super titlist Plata makes the 2,700-mile trip to the away corner to headline the show promoted by Yvon Michel at the 10,000 capacity Place bell, which is the home of the Laval Rocket of the American Hockey League.
Both boxers have only fought outside of their native countries once before and they each won their world titles in their last fights in 2022.
Clavel rose to prominence during lockdown when she became a celebrated hero for her work in nursing, even receiving the Pat Tillman Award, and appearing in the Canadian version of Celebrity Big Brother in 2021.
Clavel first conquered at national level in 2019 when she won the NABF light-flyweight title; she then added the WBC Silver belt in 2021, defending it once in 2022 to earn her world title shot against the champ, Yesenia Gomez (19-6-3, 6KO).The 32-year-old defeated the reigning titlist comfortably with one ringside judge scoring all 10-rounds to the Canadian.
In her second world championship contest, she faces another Mexican opponent.
Nery Plata first debuted way back in 2011 and became the WBC Youth light-flyweight champion in just fifth fight. She hung around at that same level for a long time, eventually winning eight WBC Youth title fights.
She didn’t become a world champion until her 30th bout, almost 11 years on from her pro bow.
She has double the experience in the paid ranks over Clavel, but the home fighter has the confidence of an unbeaten world champion with the advantage of fighting in front of her home crowd.
This unification will serve as their first world title defence where the winner takes all.
This unification clash should see see fantastic 'cat and a mouse' clash of styles.
Clavel is a neat, tidy, compact boxer. She has a solid defence with a tight guard coupled with fantastic head movement. She’s very clever, gets her shots off swiftly, but is never too greedy and moves out of the firing line before there’s any danger of getting caught back.
Clavel moves both ways, always varying from left to right to keep her opponents guessing and upsetting their rhythm.
Nery is more of a pressure fighter, who likes to come forward, get in range, and throw big hooks with a lot of weight behind them, neglecting the jab in favour of the bigger shots. She fights at mid-range and the left hook is her favourite weapon of choice. She is very tough, never been stopped, but she doesn’t move her head much. She likes to take the centre of the ring and is very good at shuffling her feet forward to always keep her opponents within range, who are forced to work hard against her.
A 10% KO ratio is very low, but she still packs a punch, and she gets stronger as the fight goes on.
If the fight goes the way it is to be expected, spectators should see an aggressive, persistant Nery hunt down Clavel, who will be sharp, fluid and elusive behind her jab and quick hands.
The odds tell the story already with Kim Clavel the firm favourite at 1/10 to win at home, while visiting fighter Nery is an outsider at 11/2.
Neither fighter is particularly heavy-handed – just three KOs each – so this is likely to go the distance, especially as those two-minute rounds go by so quickly.
Nery’s last opponent, Yessica Yolanda Bopp, was a bit of a mover but she was still able to defeat her via split decision. That fight would have provided the Mexican with the best possible preparation for Clavel, who is also good on her feet.
I rate the skill and speed of Clavel highly. I think she could catch Nery a lot, but she needs to watch out for those big hooks coming back. Nery is tough and relentless, so Clavel is going to be forced to work hard for the full 10 rounds.
If the Canadian boxes the way she is capable of, she should be able to jab and move her way to a fairly comfortable win at home. But the pressure will be turned up high the entire time by Nery.
I’m picking Clavel to win via unanimous decision.