British entrepreneur Joseph Ashford’s career has propelled him across industries in countries around the world. Now, he’s focused on giving back to his seaside hometown of Bournemouth on the English Channel – with a punch.
Mr. Ashford, who is Founder of K4 Global and its TK4 events business, spearheaded Bournemouth’s biggest-ever boxing event in late July. Thanks to his efforts along with promoter Boxxer, Comcast Corp.’s Sky Sports hosted and televised the “Battle on the Beach” between Chris Billam-Smith and Isaac Chamberlain in a in European and Commonwealth Cruiserweight title bout. Mr. Billam-Smith prevailed after a unanimous vote following 12 brutal rounds.
“It was an absolute war of a fight,” Mr. Ashford told Exec Edge in a recent interview. “One had some hand damage and the other broke an eye socket.” (Sky Sports hosted the event but it was also available worldwide, including on Fite.tv which hosts high profile pay-per-view events in the U.S. including “Iron” Mike Tyson, often compared with Evander Holyfield as one of the best heavyweight boxers of the 1980s).
“Boxing is big in London and up north and it’s been held in the same spots for years so it was difficult to get them to come to Bournemouth,” he said. “It’s one of my proudest achievements.”
The “Battle on the Beach” brought Mr. Ashford plenty of attention. “All kinds of influential people were calling me on my mobile to compliment me on the event,” he said.
Mr. Ashford, whose career began in construction, saw an opportunity in undervalued real estate and prospered as a dealmaker. “I began buying parcels of land without building permits,” he said. “I got the permits and was able to begin building.”
Mr. Ashford is far from finished with bringing the action to Bournemouth, located on the edge of Dorset county in southern England. Next up is Tyson Fury, two-time. world heavyweight champion, who has held the WBC title since 2020. Mr. Fury, like Mr. Tyson, draws an enormous international audience of boxing fans.
There’s more: Mr. Ashford has booked rapper The Game for December, when the Timbaland-era superstar will perform on Dorset’s shores. The Game, born in Compton, California, is known for restoring West Coast flavor to the American rap scene in the mid 2000s. His brother, rapper Big Fase 100, was a Bloods leader in Compton and The Game has spoken of a difficult upbringing in a poor neighborhood.
Mr. Ashford, himself, spoke of challenging times as a child. “I had a tough upbringing with lots of death in the family,” he said. “I battled starvation as a child and left school at an early age.”
“You can’t fix or correct anyone’s lives,” he said. “But it’s a fulfilling feeling when you can put a smile on thousands of peoples’ faces.”
Mr. Ashford is married with three children who reside in Bournemouth. “She’s an absolutely incredible woman,” he said of his wife.
Mr. Ashford’s portfolio spans media, real estate, classic cars, gyms, and more. “I’m an entrepreneur to the core,” he said. K4 Global is self-funded and doesn’t take external investors.
He continues to pursue opportunities in real estate – his mainstay. But he also sees opportunity in cryptocurrency. “Blockchain is so forward thinking that it needs to be the weight of the world,” he said. “Bitcoin is so big and well established I can’t imagine it going away.”
He acknowledged the rising role of retail investors in public markets as a serious force. “Movements will be driven from forums and talks,” he said. “I think Covid changed the market itself.”