Up to this point William’s only concern was the spiritual well-being of the poor, he did not consider that their poverty could influence love, worship and aspiration. He was extraordinarily successful due to the passion and love he had for the people. He had his first meeting in the East End on an old Quaker burial ground in Thomas Street and then in the open air in the Mile End road. At that time William met an Irish prizefighter walking down the street. He stopped to speak with him and something about William’s countenance really impressed him, in fact the next day he was to fight one of the best fighters behind the Blind Beggar pub, but on leaving William he believed it would be his last fight. The man he was fighting had a huge reputation and he was much bigger and stronger, but the Irishman won easily after an hour and three-quarters! After winning he went to the Mile End road to hear William and a short time later he gave his life to the Lord, William’s first convert in the East End. The Irishman became the head of food distribution and he took the meetings in the slums of Shoreditch. He said that it seemed that William would tear the soul out of your body!
From my biography of William Booth on this website.