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Kalloo

School: Kotwala
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 255 pounds

Ghulam’s younger brother, Ahmed Baksh, was born in Amritsar in 1863. His family’s patron, the maharaja of Jodhpur, lovingly named him Kalloo which stuck as his wrestling name for the rest of his life.

From a very young age, the training and companionship of Ghulam were fundamental to Kalloo’s success. Together with another brother, Rehmani, they toured France in 1900 and made a considerable impression on the continent.

After Ghulam’s death in 1901, Kalloo lost to Karim Baksh Pelra, a skilled wrestler who had easily disposed of the British champion, Tom Can¬non, in 1892. After two more indecisive matches with Karim, Kalloo managed to pin him in less than three minutes in their fourth bout at Calcutta in 1906. On account of this victory, Kalloo was widely recognised as Rustum-i-Hind. His other opponents were equally formidable; he met both Gamu Baliwala of Sialkot and Channan Qasai of Lahore four times in his distinguished career.

After Ghulam, Kalloo was the only pahelwan capable of challenging the Sikh giant, Kikkar Singh. They wrestled seven times in major cities across India: Amritsar, Lahore, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras, Benares and Bombay. The pugnacious Kalloo was known for his bad-temper and often fought rough. In their Lahore encounter in 1904, Kikkar Singh received a bloody wound to his hand. Of the two referees present, his old teacher, Boota Singh, wanted to call an end to the match but he was overruled by the other referee, a British officer. Kikkar Singh was forced to continue but had to concede defeat, the injury getting the better of him.

While Kikkar Singh dominated the earlier bouts, Kalloo took the lead in their later matches. Their final meeting in 1911 ended controversially. Behind in the match, Kikkar Singh began to strike Kalloo, who promptly tossed him with a shoulder throw. The bout then became a pancration. Kalloo, who was better dirty than clean, gave as good as he got until the scrap was broken up by the judges and declared a draw.

Kalloo fought his last competitive bout in 1917 with a win over Rajab Pahelwan Multani. He died from kidney failure in 1925 in the city of his birth, residence and training, Amritsar.

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