SANTA YNEZ, California - John Dato did not want to let down his family and friends, even if it meant facing a fighter physically bigger than him. 

Dato fended off a late rally from Ronal Ron to win a hard-fought unanimous decision before a partisan crowd Friday night at the Chumash Casino Resort.

Scores were 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75 for Dato, who improved to 17-1-1, 10 knockouts.

From the opening bell, Dato utilized movement and angles to outbox Ron, who was game and began to time Dato’s movement.

Both stood in the pocket during the second round, producing solid exchanges that Dato got the best of. At the end of the round, a straight right opened a cut above the right eye of Dato.

Ron was the aggressor during the third round. His persistence was rewarded, connecting with right hands to the head that either snapped back the head of Dato or momentarily stunned him. Dato rallied, landing a series of uppercuts to the head.

Dato was the more-effective fighter during the middle rounds. Sensing he was down on the scorecards, Ron came on in round six. He was able to outbox Dato in spots, and connect with more right hands to the head. 

Rather than stand and trade, Dato chose to keep his distance and counter Ron. Dato was able to connect with an occasional hook or right hand until the final bell sounded. 

“It took me a while to get going,” Dato told BoxingScene after the fight. “I ended up fighting someone who weighed in at 142 pounds and was taller and bigger than me. I weighed in at 128 pounds. I chose to follow through and fight because there was a big crowd that came to watch me fight.

“It was a good fight. I knew he was going to become aggressive and come forward later in the fight, so I chose to box from distance and counter when I could.

Dato hopes to come back to the ring in early 2024, and make a name for himself at 126 pounds. 

“Because of the cuts, I know I will be suspended for 60 days. I’m going to spend time with my family and friends, then plan my next move. I want to be back in action as soon as I can.

In his previous fight on January 13, Dato defeated Jesus Rizo by unanimous decision. Dato has won his three fights since a unanimous decision loss to gatekeeper Angel Contreras in August 2021. 

Ron, who is originally from Venezuela and now resides in Pomona, California, falls to 14-4. His most notable fight was a knockout loss to current IBF world junior lightweight titleholder Hector Garcia in April 2019. He had won his previous three fights.  

Junior lightweight Rudy Ochoa (10-2-1, 6 KOs) of Oxnard and John Mark Alimane of the Philippines fought to a technical draw in the opening round.

Both fighters were about to throw a punch when both of their heads collided. Alimane suffered the worst impact of the two as a nasty cut opened above the bridge of the nose. Alimane was in no condition to continue, prompting referee Ivan Guillermo to stop the fight at 1:40.

Alimane, who resides in the Philippines, goes to 8-5-1. 

In a clash of unbeaten light heavyweights who reside in Oxnard, Max Duran scored a one-punch knockout victory over Simon Aristegui in the opening round.

Duran improved to 4-0, 3 KOs. 

Midway through the round, Duran connected with a sweeping right cross to the head, dropping Aristegui face first to the canvas. Referee Thomas Taylor began to administer a standing eight-count, but waved the fight off at 1:43.

Aristegui, who resides in nearby Oxnard, falls to 2-1, 1 KO. 

In the opening pro fight of the World Fighting Championships card, light heavyweight Andres Martinez of Guinea defeated Stephen Martinez by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Andres Martinez, who improved to 3-0, 1 KO.

Andres Martinez was making his pro debut. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing