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Semaza's Back With a Knockout


IRVINE — When his night's work was done, Mike Semaza found the ring announcer's microphone and said all he needed to say to the crowd at the Irvine Marriott ballroom:

"I'm back."

Two years after his last fight, Semaza, a featherweight from Fullerton, returned looking more powerful than before his once-promising career was halted by injury.

It was tough to determine how strong, how much more mature Semaza has become because he needed only 1 minute 34 seconds to knock out John Ramirez of Oxnard in Thursday's main event.

A series of three strong punches, the last a left that sent Ramirez (10-7-2) to the canvas, made Semaza a winner for the 11th time in 12 pro fights.

"I'm a different fighter as far as power goes," said Semaza, 11-0-1. "I wanted to be cautious, but I saw the opening and went after him. I stunned him, so I kept after him.

"It feels great. I was hoping to get in some rounds, but I'll take it."

Semaza was originally scheduled to face Frankie Avelar on Aug. 18 at Irvine, but he suffered a cracked rib during a training session a week before the fight.

Semaza threw a left hook that missed. His sparring partner countered with a right hook that landed solidly enough to tear cartilage in one of Semaza's ribs.

Before that, hand injuries had sidelined Semaza for the better part of two years. He also took some time away from the ring for financial reasons, and there's no question the layoff has hurt his career.

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