Haji Manzoor Hussain, also known as Bholu Pahalwan, was a Pakistani wrestler and held World Heavyweight Title.
Bholu came from a Kashmiri family of renowned wrestlers from pre-Partition Amritsar but moved to Pakistan. He lived in Amritsar until he was nine. Then during one of his school holidays Bholu moved to Patiala to visit his father, who was a serious wrestler.
He died on 6 March 1985 in Pakistan. His son Nasir Bholu is also a wrestler.
Bholu started his wrestling career in Radhanpur under the guidance of Hamida Pahalwan Rehmaniwala, real name Abdul Hamid Al Maroof Rehmani, who was an official wrestler of that state. In 1935, at age 13 Bholu made his first appearance in a wrestling contest at Lahore. He competed with wrestler known as Ahmad Baksh to a draw for a duration of twelve minutes. On Monday 27 March 1939 Bholu wrestles Ahmad Baksh for the 2nd time at in Lahore. The Judges were Sardar Abdus Samad City Magistrate and Inspector Gayani of Naulakha Police Station.
From 1935 till 1940 Bholu succeeded against some of competent Indian Pahalwans like Mangal Singh, Kharak Singh, Bora Singh, Bulhar Pahalwan and Aleem Pahalwan of Baroda. During 1940, Bholu competed in the war fund wrestling competitions staged by the Government in every part of Subcontibent to boost up war funds. Bholu Pahalwan defeated a number of wrestlers, including a local champion Ghousia Pahalwan twice in Lahore and for the 3rd time in Bahawalnagar.
In 1944 Bholu defeated Puran Singh Amritsari in Ajain in a recorded time of 6 minutes. Later the same year he defeated another wrestler with the similar name known as Puran Singh Patialawala, in Ludhiana in 3 minutes. In 1945 Bholu beats a Sikh wrestler known as Darbar Singh in Kasur in shortest duration of 1-minute. In 1946 Bholu was scheduled to fight Jeuti Pahalwan in Kolhapur but on the day of the match Jeuti refused to fight and slipped away. Public turned furious and burnt the wrestling arena. The police resorted to firing in order to control the enraged spectators and the alleged wrestling contractor was jailed. But Hamida Pahalwan soon arranged a rematch between both wrestlers to compensate the public money. Bholu agreed to wrestle without payment and defeated Jeuti in this second event in Kolhapur on a final decision. Later in another contest in Kolhapur he defeated the top contender Shiv Govinda within 2 minutes.
During the same year Bholu fought a series of wrestling bouts against the Champion of Kolhapur, Mulla Patarakia of Nipani who had the reputation of previously beating highly talented men like Nizam, Ghulam Mohiuddin, Hussain Baksh Lahori and Allah baksh Pahalwan. Bholu surprisingly overpowered Mulla Patarakia in a wrestling event arranged by the Maharaja in front of a huge crowd. This contest was also witnessed by the Emperors of the neighboring states. Anyhow Patarakia refused to accept his defeat and demanded a rematch with Bholu in his hometown of Nipani. As a result of that a few days later Bholu fought Patarakia in Nipani and defeated him for the second time on a unanimous decision.
After the Indian Partition Bholu Pahalwan settled down in Pakistan. He formed the ‘new age’ Gama-Imam Tandem with his brother Aslam. During 1948, before winning the Pakistani Championship, Bholu trained from 02.00 hrs till 10.00 hrs and from 14.00 hrs till 19.00 hrs daily. His training routine consisted of around 5000 squats and 3500 pushup stretches including Santola and Zor on daily basis. For his conventional wrestling workouts Bholu also used Chakki, Lizam and Mugdar twice a week. During the early days after the Indian partition Bholu fought Gujranwalia at the Minto Park in Lahore and won the match but later there was a rematch in Karachi. In April 1949, Bholu Pahalwan won the Rustam-i-Pakistan title by beating Younus Gujranwalia Pahalwan for the Pakistani wrestling Championship title in a recorded time of 8 minutes . The Governor General of Pakistan Khawaja Nazimuddin was the Chief Guest of this wrestling event. This was the most significant event in the Pakistan’s wrestling history. Bholu Pahalwan was declared the first legitimate Wrestling Champion of Pakistan.
Bholu seldom wrestled within the country after these matches. He compete with foreign wrestlers who were active in India during the early1950’s. In Jalandhar and Bombay Bholu Pahalwan dominated some of the finest men in wrestling Including Emil Koroshenko, George Pencheff, Goldstein, George Zbisko, Zybisko-2 and Harbans Singh. Bholu had two main Akhara‘s (Wrestling’s dujo) within the country. The Bilal Gunj Akhara was located in Lahore. In 1948 Bholu formed another Akhara known as Dar-ul-Sehat at Pakistan Chowk in Karachi. The Dar-ul-Sehat also known as Bholu-ka-Akhara trained in Pakistani style wrestling under the supervision of professional wrestlers. It also provided the weight training and bobybuilding facilities to the members. The Bholu’s Akhara trained around 55000 members during the 60’s. Bholu gave special attention to this institution. He personally trained the members that included 60 to 70 serious wrestlers.
In 1953 Bholu challenges the World Champion, Lou Thesz in order to win the world championship. He even asks the Government through Pakistani Prime minister Muhammad Ali Bogra to arrange a match between him and the reigning world champion. Bholu even offered a sum of 0.1 Million to the world champion for a match with him. But the match between Bholu Pahalwan and Lou Thesz never took place for some unknown reason. He later attempted to confront the World Champion Indian wrestler Dara Singh but Singh was to a great extent billed to fight elsewhere in America and could not afford time. During the early 1960s Bholu challenge the wrestlers worldwide through publications in different newspapers. He remained matchless because the average wrestler seemed reluctant to compete against him.
Bholu received the 1962 Pride of Performance Award. He was granted a 20-kanal land by the President Ayub Khan in honour of services rendered to the sport of wrestling in Pakistan. Bholu performed Hajj in 1963. Finally in 1964 the Pakistan Wrestling Association declared him Rustam-e-Zaman, The Pakistani World Champion. They imposed a condition on him that Bholu should wrestle abroad and must win a world title in order to sustain his Pakistani World Title of Rustam-e-Zaman. Since most wrestlers were reluctant to fight him due to unknown reason. Therefore in 1967 Bholu offered a sum of 5000 pounds through promoter Orig Williams of the United Kingdom to anyone who could beat him. And Finally in May 1967, Bholu Pahalwan competed in a world championship event sponsored by the Eastern Promotions Limited in UK and defeated the Anglo-French heavyweight Champion, Henry Perry for the World Heavyweight Title in Empire Pool, Wembley Stadium, London, England. Later after winning the world championships from abroad, his status as Rustam-e-Zaman, The Pakistani World Champion was officially confirmed in his own country on September 1967 by the Pakistan Wrestling Association in a ceremony held in Karachi and presided by Home Minister, Kazi Fazlullah. .