<
>

Smash 'god' Hungrybox quits job to pursue esports full-time

It was an emotional evening for Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma when he won the Melee title at the Evo Championship Series 2016 in Las Vegas. Can he repeat that feat this weekend? Gail Fisher for ESPN

Professional Super Smash Bros. Melee player and Evolution Championship Series 2016 champion Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma of Team Liquid, 23, has quit his engineering job at paper supply manufacturer WestRock to pursue a full-time career in gaming.

As announced Wednesday on his Twitch stream, Hungrybox has joined a quickly growing list of players who consider Smash their primary vocation. Hungrybox, however, will also be studying computer programming at home and hopes to forge a new career in app development or even work in the video game industry.

In 2015, Hungrybox graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in chemical engineering. He then obtained a job at WestRock as part of a rotational program. While his rotations in Florida and Georgia allowed him to practice and work, his recent move to Demopolis, Alabama, was more challenging. He lived two hours from the nearest international airport, which made travel to tournaments an ordeal. What's more, the nearest competitive Smash players were an hour away in Tuscaloosa, and the level of competition was not as high as in his former areas of residence.

At the recent Smash major The Big House 6 in Michigan, it seemed like the stress in Hungrybox's life had caught up to him, as his loss to Counter Logic Gaming's Zachary "SFAT" Cordoni apparently triggered a mental breakdown. Hungrybox had already admitted in an interview with Vice that if he placed lower than third at the tournament, he would strongly consider finding another job. His fifth-place finish sealed the deal.

Based on Melee It On Me's 2015 power ranking, Hungrybox is second in the world. But with his stellar 2016 run and his Evolution Championship win, many believe he has firmly cemented himself as the best player in the world.

Considering how well Hungrybox has performed this year with a full-time work schedule, he might become significantly more formidable now that nearly all his focus will be on Melee.