5 Things To Know About ONE’s Italy President Carlo Di Blasi
Carlo Di Blasi brings a wealth of experience both inside and outside of the ring to his new position as President of ONE Championship Italy.
In the 1970s, he started training in the martial arts and watched as various disciplines permeated through Italian culture.
From first stepping into the ring himself, to coaching, and later promoting and managing, Di Blasi has experienced competition on every level possible.
With that in mind, here are five things about Di Blasi that you should know.
#1 His Martial Arts Background Is Extensive
When he was just 14 years old, Di Blasi started his martial arts journey with judo and later moved to karate, which was just being introduced in his country.
As fate would have it, the Italian witnessed a scuffle on the street where he saw these “incredible kicks” being thrown. He later found out those individuals were practicing savate, which was the only competitive combat sport in the nation at that time.
Soon thereafter, Di Blasi entered the ring and competed himself. He reached the international level, but he retired in 1986 to focus on coaching. “I noticed my fighters were doing better than me, and I thought maybe I am a better coach than a fighter,” he admits.
Di Blasi later worked as a promoter, bringing organizations like K-1 to Italy. He also opened up the world-famous Accademia Europea, and has been instrumental in turning Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan into a household name in the sport of kickboxing.
#2 Di Blasi Was A Lawyer
While martial arts has always been his passion, Di Blasi expected himself to become a diplomat.
However, he instead chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend law school at the University of Milan. He also attended a seminar of studies at the University of Montpellier and earned a degree in French translations at the French Cultural Center of Milan.
In 1989, Di Blasi left his prominent lawyer gig for careers in business events, public relations, and TV production, which got him connected into showbiz.
From there, he started to focus on sports, which was right when martial arts exploded in Italy.
#3 A Big Supporter Of Female Martial Artists
View this post on Instagram
Oktagon 1997 . Seconda edizione ( prima al forum di Assago ) . Conferenza stampa . Con me Chantal Menard, futura campionessa del mondo . Quanta strada da allora . Grazie a tutti coloro che hanno creduto al progetto di un ragazzo che aveva un sogno . #oktagon #oncewewerewarriors #fenascotime #wewerekids #ihaveadream #fight1
Di Blasi has been a longtime supporter of women competing in martial arts.
In 1997, his charge, former model Chantal Ménard, became the country’s first female World Champion in combat sports when she won the ISKA World Title. After that, she became a local hero and inspired many other women to start training, as well as compete.
Four years later, Di Blasi successfully lobbied to have female boxing legalized in Italy.
“Women must be given the same chances as men in the ring. When you see a little girl training and see her dedication and grit, it will change how you see martial arts,” he states. “I don’t like it when people say, ‘Oh, she fights like a man.’ No, she fights like a woman and can be better than a man.”
#4 He Served In The Italian Military
As part of mandatory service, Di Blasi served in the Italian Military for one year — more specifically, in the Military Police Special Forces Anti-Drug sector.
He started from the bottom just like everyone else, but when his supervisors became aware of his skills as a martial artist, he began to give lessons in self-defense to his fellow soldiers.
Although the discipline Di Blasi learned through martial arts had already provided a strong foundation, his time in the military took that discipline to another level. Also, it gave him a lesson in responsibility.
“It is a huge responsibility to carry a weapon, and to know you cannot use the weapon unless it is absolutely necessary,” he explains. “When holding a weapon, you cannot show fear or act impulsively. It has the power to both save and hurt people.”
#5 He Has Big Goals For ONE Championship
Di Blasi originally met with ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong in 2018 when Petrosyan was scouted by the promotion.
The values set forth by The Home Of Martial Arts resonated with the Italian, and the company’s dreams and goals inspired him to do more.
Now, as President of ONE Championship Italy, Di Blasi wants to use martial arts as a vehicle to spread Asian values throughout Europe.
“A champion must be noble and know how to take care of the people. I hope to create a lot of champions in Italy that go on to become World Champions in ONE. But [more than that], I want to spread ONE and its values all throughout Europe,” he explains.
“In Europe, people really love Asian culture, and martial arts can be the rope that can join the two cultures together.”