IBF Lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez had relocated from New York to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to decrease chances of being exposed to the Coronavirus. Instead, he got a taste of nasty, sudden Southeast thunderstorms and survived a potentially deadly tornado that ripped through the town Saturday night.
Authorities in the Northeast Arkansas town spent Sunday morning assessing damage and checking on the health and safety of residents over a 20-mile stretch after the tornado touched down.
Amazingly, despite the extensive damage, Jonesboro mayor Harold Perrin relayed at a Sunday morning press conference that at that time there were only 22 known injuries, requiring two hospitalizations and amazingly, no fatalities from the tornado:
HAPPENING SOON: Mayor Harold Perrin and law enforcement update the latest information on tornado damage and clean up efforts
Posted by Region 8 News on Sunday, March 29, 2020
The tornado destroyed an empty shopping mall that had been closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and it also damaged the Jonesboro Airport, including sending small airplanes cartwheeling down runways and left in grassy areas there.
Back to Lopez, he told Boxingscene.com senior writer, Keith idec, earlier this week that he had relocated with his wife to Jonesboro. This is, because his wife’s sister lives there and because Lopez is asthmatic and might be at more significant risk of serious health problems, if he contracted the Coronavirus.
Lopez said to Boxingscene,
“Right now, we’re just pretty much staying indoors,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com. “Luckily, we were able to get everything that we needed. I just had to get away from New York. There are just too many people getting infected there, too many people with the virus.
I can’t get it. Especially with me having asthma and stuff like that, it won’t be good for me. With the change of the seasons my allergies really start to kick in, which also triggers my asthma.
“We’re just trying to be cautious now,” Lopez continued. “We’re being careful. My wife has me indoors as much as possible, trying to make sure I don’t get sick or get worse.
It sucks because me, as an athlete, we’re always active and we love to stay active. Now that this has occurred, you just pretty much have to be locked up indoors. We’re trying to make the best of it.”
Lopez tweeted late Saturday that he and his family were okay:
Got hit by a tornado🌪 earlier today here in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Thank God we’re okay..
— Teofimo Lopez (@TeofimoLopez) March 29, 2020
Lopez captured the IBF 135 lb. title in December with a second-round TKO destruction of champion Richard Commey. It improved his record to 15 – 0 with 12 KOs and put him on track for a unification Showdown with WBA and WBO Champion, Vasily Lomachenko.
That fight has been tentatively scheduled for May 30th in New York, but was never formally announced. And, it’s now put on hold due to the Coronavirus outbreak shutting down all of sports, including crowd gathering.
It is believed the fight will be rescheduled for later in the summer and potentially, at Madison Square Garden, where the Brooklyn-born Lopez is a popular up-and-coming fighter. And, it’s also where Lomachenko has headlined on a couple of occasions previously defending his world titles.