|5' 7" Rochelle Okoye, was
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba May 26, 1985. She began her gymnastics career
at the age of 2, because she was climbing on everything and putting
herself in dangerous situations. Okoye, moved to England in 1992,
at the age of 7, and continued gymnastics in that area.
In 1996, Okoye became the British national gymnastics champion and was
able to hold the title for three consecutive years. Also, in that same
year, she began competing internationally for the Great Britain
gymnastics team, sponsored by the UK Athletic Federation traveling
abroad and competing in many different countries that included Holland,
Switzerland, France, etc.
Throughout Okoye's international gymnastics career, she won many medals
In 1997 and 1998, Okoye was awarded the top sports person in England
under the age of 13 category. Than in 1998 BBC produced and aired a 1/2
hour sports documentary on her gymnastics career.
Okoye was also a 2000 Olympic hopeful, however in 2000 the International
gymnastics federation changed the rules that a competitor in the
Olympics had to be 16 years old, the year of the Olympics, and Okoye was
turning 15 years old.
Okoye told WBAN, "So I didn't even get to compete in the Olympic trials.
I was told I had to wait until 2004, by which time I would have been 19,
which is relatively old for a gymnast and my body was already falling
apart due to accumulated injuries. By this time my mother had grown home
sick, and wanted to return to Canada. My parents thought it was best to
move back to Canada in the hopes that I would carry on with my
gymnastics career and strive for the 2004 Olympics. However, gymnastics
was never my passion, I just happened to be extremely good at it, but it
was NEVER something I enjoyed doing. Moving back to Canada for me was an
opportunity to leave the sport that I had never loved doing, gain some
free time and explore my options with other things. I have never stepped
foot in a gym again to this day."
For the first time in her life, Okoye lived like a somewhat "normal"
teenager, not having to train 4-8 hours a day, leaving her with free
"While finishing up high school I was able to skip grade 8 and graduated
from Terry Fox secondary in Port Coquitlam in 2002," said Okoye.
Okoye continued her schooling and she earned a Bachelors of Science
degree in psychology from the University of Northern British Columbia
(UNBC), in Prince George, BC.
Okoye told WBAN, "There I met my wonderful fiancé Kajan Johnson who is a
professional mixed martial artist (ultimate fighter). He recently won
the XMMA 155lb title, and is pursuing his career and striving for the
UFC and happens to be extremely close to that goal. After
graduating , in 2006, we moved back to Coquitlam, BC, and I
started working in Vancouver in my field (psychology) for 2 yrs; working
one on one with children with developmental disabilities and mental
"I then sent in an application for Canada's next top model for fun, and
ended up making it to be a semi finalist for the show. I met the
producers and had a one on one on camera interview with them at the city
TV studio (2007). I ended up getting cut after they had come to the
conclusion I would not be enough drama for the TV series. So in the end,
I didn't make the top 10 and onto the show, which I am so thankful for!"
"At the end of 2007, I started training boxing with my now ex-coach Tony
Pep at Revolution Fight team in Langley, BC. At first it was just for
fun and to stay in shape. Pep saw that I had some talent, and I started
competing in amateur bouts after 6 months of training. I was 1-2 as an
amateur fighter (with both losses very controversial). BC Amateur boxing
is extremely political, and I had had enough. So we decided to go
pro, and my style was better suited for professional boxing."
[Top Photo and Above photo taken by Gil Gatchalian]
On December 27, 2008, at the Red Robinson Show
Theatre, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, on the card, "Rumble
in the Red", Okoye,
122, made her pro debut. Okoye, fighting in her hometown, won a four-round unanimous
decision over Priscilla Trompowsky, 120.5, Toronto, Canada.
Final judges scores, 39-37, 39-37, 39-35.
Okoye said, "Boxing for me, is something that I love doing. I love
keeping in shape, I love training, I love hitting things, I love
learning new moves and making them work. Boxing is a sweet science and
something I am very interested in studying. So I hope to one day have a
world title belt wrapped around my waist, and I will work as hard as I
need too in order to accomplish that."
Currently Okoye is an independent
personal trainer in the Fraser Valley, BC, and she can be contacted at
also teach Ladies cardio kickboxing & boxing classes at Revolution
Martial Arts, in Langley BC, located in Golds Gym.