Semajay Thomas, who was a standout out amateur, makes his pro debut this Friday, August 30 at the Cicero Stadium in Cicero, Illinois. The “Night of the Rising Stars” card is promoted by Hitz Boxing Promotions. The biggest star of the night will no doubt be the much anticipated and delayed professional debut of Semajay “The Truth” Thomas, who has already faced more adversity than the average person sees in a lifetime.
Just over four years ago Semajay Thomas, who was only 16 years old at the time, was arrested and tried as an adult for the beating in the death of Reynaldo Ortiz, age 50. Facing a 20 year minimum sentence and a bail that was set at 900,000 dollars, Thomas was forced to spend 15 months in custody while awaiting trial for a crime that he did not commit.
It’s hard enough being a teenager. Even harder to be a teenager from the violent gang infested streets of Chicago, a place that has been making headlines the last few summers for all the wrong reasons. With the odds stacked against him, Thomas made the best of his situation becoming an honor student and thriving in boxing ranked the #1 141 pounder in the America.
Semajay was framed by members of a gang called “Satan’s Disciples”, who got into an argument with the victim and proceeded to beat him on the street right in front of a house that was next store to his. The police took the bait from some “eye witnesses”, one who was already in jail, and arrested Semajay along with 2 others. Those same eye witnesses later changed their story during the trial.
Thomas passed the time trying to stay in shape for his 2012 Olympic dreams by doing tons of sit-ups and using ripped up bed sheets for hand wraps, setting his bed against the wall. His time spent in the County Cook Juvenile Temporary Detention Center all the while knowing he was innocent would drive anyone crazy, let alone a teenager. What the young man had to do in order to get out applied pressure and fear of retaliation from the gang on himself and family.
Luckily he found support on the inside and outside that helped him get through this horrible injustice.
Even after a long stretch of inactivity just 6 months after his release, Semajay took home the title at the U.S.A. Championships in the 141 pound division. The drama in the courtroom during the trail and the case overall would make a perfect hollywood script or at the very least a great documentary.
Semajay fell short at the 2012 Olympic trials and was scheduled to make his Chicago debut earlier this year but ran into a very random and controversial commission judgment that delayed him. He should be on his 3 or 4 fight but that didn’t stop him from developing in 2013. In fact it may have been a blessing in disguise.
His amateur pedigree, pro potential, and having Nate Jones as a trainer, enabled him to spend time getting quality work with some of the best talent America and the world has to offer in the sport of boxing.
He spent time sparring and working out at the Mayweather Boxing Club, even got a special invitation to go on a run with Floyd, something that rarely happens because Mayweather usually runs alone or with Leonard Ellerbe the C.E.O. of Mayweather Promotions. Semajay was a spunge soaking up information and advice that the pound the pound king gave him on their run and in the gym.
He was also in Devon Alexander’s and Adrien Broner’s training camps helping them get ready for their upcoming fights.
It’s been a long time coming for Thomas who has been patiently waiting to take the headgear off and put on those small pro gloves. At least 2013 wasn’t a wasted year, learning as an understudy from the elite and some top level fighters in the sport gave him a better idea of how a pro works.
At 20, Semajay Thomas has lived a lifetime worth of pain and stress in his teenager years. He was able to overcome, in the end it may be something that matched with his talent, puts him ahead of other top level prospects on the quest to become world champions.
Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of Rope A Dope Radio at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
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