The Great Gama

The Great Gama
Real Name: Ghulum Mohammed

Stats: 5' 7" 230 lbs
Born: 1888

When people look at the greatest wrestlers and wrestling families of all time, the Great Gama and his family should be right at the top of the list. Born in 1888 in Amritsar in the Punjab, Gama (whose real name was Ghulum Mohammed) was the son of a wrestler named Aziz. Gama and his brother, Imam, were the most feared wrestlers in all of India.

Gama won the title of Champion of India in 1909 and laid out a challenge to anyone who would wrestle him. Generally, in order to get a shot at Gama, a competitor would have to hold the title of his nation's Champion, or would have to first fight Imam - none were able to defeat Imam who lost only once in his lifetime. After winning his country's championship, Gama, Imam and R. B. Benjamin's circus of Indian wrestlers traveled throughout Europe taking on all comers. During this tour Gama defeated some of the most respected grapplers in the world, including "Doc" Benjamin Roller of the United States, Maurice Deriaz of France, Johann Lemm (the European Champion) of Switzerland, and Jesse Peterson (World Champion) from Sweden. His most acclaimed match was with the great Stanislaus Zbyszco, the World Champion from Poland. Zbyszco, upon assessing Gama considerable ability wrestled defensively the entire match and secured a disputed draw. In the match against Roller, Gama threw "Doc" 13 times in the 15 minute match. Gama now issued a challenge to the rest of those who laid claim to the World Champion's Title, including Japanese Judo champion Taro Miyake, Georges Hackenschmidt of Russia and Frank Gotch of the United States - each declined his invitation to enter the ring to face him. At one point, in order to face some type of competition, Gama offer to fight twenty English wrestlers, one after another. He announced that he would defeat all of them or pay out prize money - still no one would take up his challenge.

Gama returned to India as his country's hero and wrestled for the next 15 years. He once again faced Zbyszco and avenged his disputed draw by defeating the great Pole in just 21 seconds. Although he had a number of draws early in his career, he retired undefeated in an estimated 5,000 matches. After retiring, he helped to train his nephew Bhollu who held the Pakistani Championship for almost 20 years.

The Great Gama, the Lion of Punjab, died in 1953 in Pakistan and is still remembered as one of the greatest champions ever to grace the mat.

 

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