A new era of Street Fighter means a new wave of challengers.
15 of the best Street Fighter pros will congregate in South Africa to throw hands at Red Bull Kumite 2023. This annual invitational tournament always brings in the best of the best but with the advent of Street Fighter 6, everyone is waiting to see which pro will rise above the rest.
Invited to the event are the usual killers such as Derek “iDom” Ruffin, Lin “Oil King” Li-wei, and Benjamin “Problem X” Simon but it’s not just them that you need to pay attention to. A tournament as stacked as this will have its underdogs so we’ve got three dark horses who have the potential to go all the way in Red Bull Kumite.
Jabhi “JabhiM” Mabuza
The big boss of South Africa’s Street Fighter scene, JabhiM has been a regular face in both Red Bull events and Capcom’s regional online tournaments. As the four-time Red Bull Hit The Streets champion, his skill is undeniable and he’s ready to establish his name early into the Street Fighter 6 era.
William “Leffen” Hjelte
The hotheaded, Swedish Super Smash Bros. Melee legend is looking to make a scene in Red Bull Kumite. Confident and outspoken, Leffen is one of the few Smash Bros. professionals who successfully branched out as a top competitor in other fighting games. He’s taken names from Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Gear Strive, and now he’s set his sights on Street Fighter 6.
There’s no clearer dark horse in this tournament than Zhen. The relatively unknown Chinese student shocked everyone when he blitzed through last year’s Capcom Cup IX – Last Chance Qualifiers. Proving his dominance wasn’t a fluke, Zhen stayed in the winners’ bracket in Capcom Cup IX, losing only to MenaRD in the grand finals. People are waiting to see if he can repeat that performance in this tournament.
The very definition of an online warrior, EndingWalker has been terrorizing the online rankings and tournaments in the UK since 2021. People doubted whether he was the real deal until he started going to live events and won his very first trophy in Ultimate Fighting Arena 2022.
He’ll be starting this tournament in the Last Chance Qualifier along 128 other hopefuls. While he has a long road ahead of him, there’s no doubt he’s one of the few who can make it happen.
Banner image from Red Bull Kumite 2023.