Arif Saleem Bohru aka Badshah Khan — Defying odds to be J&K’s first profession wrestler

Having already won the Tag Team Championship twice, Arif Saleem Bohru’s success rate in more than 100 matches is an outstanding 85 per cent.

Popularly known as Badshah Khan, Arif Saleem Bohru from Ramban area of Jammu and Kashmir has been defying all odds to chase his passion for wrestling. And, the pain and agony he has gone through in his journey to becoming the first professional wrestler from Jammu and Kashmir keep him motivated to unravel more and more milestones to success.

Belonging to a remote village, called Neel, in Ramban region of J&K, Arif was influenced by his father’s inspiring tales about The Great Khali, which pushed him towards wrestling and, eventually, not only made him famous but also the first-ever wrestler in the erstwhile State.

It is itself an achievement that he went for his pro-wrestling training in The Great Khali’s Wrestling Academy in Jalandhar. Arif had never thought that he would get such a platform, but his hard work didn’t go unnoticed.

Pertinently, it was The Great Khali himself, who named him Badshah Khan because of the fearlessness that he shows inside the ring. Learning about Khali was the turning point of his life and he went down into the ring for the first time when he was just 20 years old. Badshah considers that moment very special in his career.

Arif Saleem Bohru aka Badshah Khan — Defying odds to be J&K’s first profession wrestler - Digpu News
Badshah Khan In The Wrestling Ring

His journey from Arif Saleem to getting titled with the name of ‘Badshah Khan’ has been full of struggles and hardships. He spent his initial days attending small wrestling competitions but as his confidence level increased, he started training with the professional wrestlers and won various wrestling competitions.

Today, Arif is one among the top five pro-wrestlers of India and is considered as one of the toughest wrestlers in the Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE). He has become very famous on social media, with his wrestling videos going viral. His fan following has grown rapidly on social media, especially Instagram, where he constantly shares pictures and videos of wrestling events.

It is noteworthy to mention that Mr. Dalip Singh Rana AKA “The Great Khali” started the first professional wrestling school in January, 2015 in Jalandhar, Punjab and named it Continental Wrestling Entertainment.

Speaking about his mission as a wrestler, Badshah Khan says, “When I am inside the ring, I feel like the king. I am not afraid of anyone inside that ring because I show the real power of Kashmir and India. With the love of my Kashmiri & Indian brothers, I want to represent India & Kashmir all over the world.”

Having already won the Tag Team Championship twice, his success rate in more than 100 matches is an outstanding 85 per cent. After becoming 2-times Tag Team Champion, Badshah Khan reinstated his position as one of the top wrestlers in the country, by winning the World Heavyweight Championship on March 18, 2020.

Arif Saleem Bohru aka Badshah Khan — Defying odds to be J&K’s first profession wrestler - Digpu News
L to R: Badshah Khan In The CWE; Badshah Khan with the Great Khali

At 105 kg of weight and a height of 6.2 feet, his towering personality is enough to subdue his competitors in the ring. This is perhaps why he is considered to be one of the toughest wrestlers in the arena. His daily routine includes a 6-hour workout and 4-hour wrestling classes.

About his wrestling classes, Arif says, “I have dreamt of being a wrestler ever since I was a teenager. I have worked very hard to be where I am today. Now that I have reached this position, I don’t want to let it go waste. In order to maintain my wrestling prowess, and to continue winning, I keep on learning and training each day.”

Arif prefers non-spicy food, boiled chicken, eggs, soups, fruits and other foods with protein. He ignores all types of greasy and sweet foods because of adverse effects on one’s body.

One of the goals that excites Badshah Khan is to fight in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and become a world champion in the true sense of the word.

“The skill is not an attachment to any caste or religion. I will prove myself to the country and to my parents. Whatever happens, I have to fulfill my dream of becoming the world’s top pro-wrestler,” Badshah Khan says.

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However, he has had to struggle, given the lack of infrastructure and facilities for training. As a consequence, Arif doesn’t visit his home very often and has to sacrifice the moments of togetherness with his family to make sure that his training would not suffer.

Badshah Khan has not received any monetary support or sponsorship from anywhere yet. Given the fact that pro-wrestling is an independent sport, it costs a lot to wrestlers like him.

He, however, feels that just like the Haryana government encourages the players of its State, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir should also encourage such players.

Arif Saleem requests the Government of Jammu and Kashmir that if any kind of help can be made for professional wrestlers like him, it will boost their morale to do more and make a name for Jammu and Kashmir in the wrestling arena.

In his message to the youngsters, he says, “We should all involve ourselves in sports and be away from the menace of drugs. Our motive should be a healthy life, which is not just about sports and good food but healthy relations with our parents as well.”


Dil-Paziir (Urdu; meaning ‘heart-pleasing’) is a special edition positive news series brought to you by Digpu, sourced from conflict areas, starting from Kashmir. Our local journalists have successfully shared many inspirational stories from the valley – from the invention of E-Charkha, automatic ventilator in Kashmir, stories of brotherhood through to the first-ever cricket tourney for Blind sportsmen, all the stories make us awe-struck. These are NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.

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Aasif Ganaie

Aasif is a journalist and a news enthusiast based in Jammu & Kashmir. He voyages to explore and uncover the stories that need to be told. With a special focus on data journalism, the journo also writes about happenings, events and everything that matters.
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