AyoRichie caps off incredible underdog story to clinch the Red Bull Golden Letters title.

Unsung underdog Richie “AyoRichie” Olusanya took home first place at Red Bull Golden Letters over the weekend. The evolutionary tournament was the first Red Bull event exclusive to Tekken 7.

Many of Europe’s best players travelled to London to compete in Saturday’s Qualifier.

The Top 4 then joined the Red Bull invitees in Top 8 the next day. Golden Letters also introduced a unique twist: achieving three “PERFECT” or “GREAT” rounds wins the set, no matter the game score. There were a total of 14 Golden Letter victories earned, though none occurred in the Top 8.

Going into the tournament, very few could’ve expected AyoRichie’s incredible performance. The British player broke out online during the pandemic and only recently began entering offline events. In fact, Red Bull Golden Letters was the first major tournament of his young career.

Furthermore, AyoRichie mains Leo, who is considered one of the game’s worst characters. Against all odds, AyoRichie overcame each obstacle on his way to lifting the trophy.

AyoRichie’s Golden Run

The young champion’s journey started in the Open Qualifier. Only 4 of the 92 entrants could advance to Top 8 on Sunday. In just his second match, AyoRichie squared off against the legendary Dinosaur. AyoRichie outlasted his fellow Brit in a grueling 3-2 set to stay on the winners side of the bracket.

After defeating Why, his next opponent was JoKa, another British player who dominated online during the pandemic. In a match of rising stars from the UK, AyoRichie routed JoKa 3-0 to advance to Winners Semi-Finals. With just one more victory he’d earn his spot in the Top 8.

AyoRichie’s next test was against SephiBlack. Germany’s best player handed AyoRichie his only defeat of the tournament in convincing 3-1 fashion. Fortunately since it was a winners side match, AyoRichie still had one more chance to qualify for Top 8. Standing in his way was another emerging player also from Germany. AyoRichie would not be denied from playing on Sunday, handing Tetsu a quick 3-0 defeat and punching his ticket into Top 8.

Top 8

AyoRichie had proved to everyone he was for real, but now the true challenge awaited him. Making Top 8 is a feat, but one only a few can achieve regularly. It’s important to not settle and go for gold, because you might not ever make it back. To say the least, AyoRichie did not let the opportunity slip away.

His first match in Top 8 was against France’s Super Akouma, widely renowned as the best player in all of Europe.

Not only was the AyoRichie a huge underdog, but his low-tier Leo had to deal with arguably the game’s best character, Akuma. With no fear of the Raging Demon, AyoRichie defeated Super Akouma 3-1 for his first upset of the bracket.

In Winners Semi-Finals, AyoRichie squared off against Joey Fury, one of two American players invited by Red Bull. On paper, the Leo again was once again fighting an uphill about against top-tier Marduk.

Unfazed by any of the current meta, AyoRichie again peeled off his second straight 3-1 win over a top competitor. With just one more win he’d be sitting in the perennial driver’s seat: Grand Finals from the Winners Side.

Standing in AyoRichie’s way was Red Bull’s star player and tournament favorite, Anakin. A veteran with over a decade of tournament experience, Anakin is the pinnacle of the USA Tekken and one of the world’s best players.

Similar to AyoRichie, Anakin is a character loyalist known for his JACK-7. A battle between afterthought characters decided who would be safe in Grand Finals and who would have to fight from Losers side.

Grand Finals

Anakin took the first round, but AyoRichie responded strongly with three straight games to take the set. It was his third straight 3-1 upset, and now he could sit comfortably awaiting his opponent in Grand Finals.

Joey Fury ended up defeating Anakin in Losers Finals, earning his runback with AyoRichie. Switching to Feng Wei this time around, Joey carried his momentum while challenging AyoRichie to adapt to a new character. The combination was too much, and Joey Fury triumphed 3-0 to reset the bracket.

Suffering a bracket reset from winners side in Grand Finals can be utterly demoralizing. It’s very easy to be shaken from the loss and fail to regain your composure. Showing nerves of steel, AyoRichie would not fold under pressure.

AyoRichie took the first two games of the reset for a commanding 2-0 lead before closing out the tournament 3-1. In an improbable story no one saw coming, AyoRichie was crowned Red Bull Golden Letters champion. With his formal introduction to the world compete, the future is bright for the new fighting pride of the UK.

Red Bull Golden Letters Results

Open Qualifier (Top 4 Advance)

  • 1st – Kaneandtrench
  • 1st – SephiBlack
  • 3rd – AyoRichie
  • 3rd – Fergus
  • 5th – Tetsu
  • 5th – Fuhito
  • 7th – Roo Kang
  • 7th – JoKa

Top 8

  • 1st – AyoRichie
  • 2nd – Joey Fury
  • 3rd – Anakin
  • 4th – Super Akouma
  • 5th – Kaneandtrench
  • 5th – ChickenMaru
  • 7th – Fergus
  • 7th – SephiBlack

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Zach Snoddy -

Zach Snoddy

Zach is an esports writer with origins in the fighting game community (FGC). His favorite games are Tekken, Smash, and Mortal Kombat, though he has expanded his horizons into other genres like FPS. A former single-player story mode extraordinaire, Zach is willing to take a break from retirement for the right game.