Billy Walsh backs 'determined' Katie Taylor to be world champion at professional level

Billy Walsh backs 'determined' Katie Taylor to be world champion at professional level

FIVE-TIME world champion and Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor is set to announce a switch to professional boxing in the next two weeks and Billy Walsh, her former coach, insists she’s ready for the challenge.

Matchroom Sports promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that the Olympic gold medalist is in discussions with him over switching to the professional ranks.

She is expected to sign and make a swift debut next month at Wembley Arena with Sky Sports, who have been a long-term sponsor of Taylor, likely to televise the bout.

Speaking exclusively to The Irish Post, renowned trainer Walsh – who left the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to take up a role with the US women’s team last year – believes she will become a world champion again, if she signs as a pro.

“I wish her nothing but only the best of luck but I think without a doubt that in a short space of time she will become a world champion again as a professional,” he said.

Since a disappointing 2016 Olympic Games for Irish boxing, fellow big-name amateurs Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes have turned to the professional game.

And Walsh believes the hard graft Taylor displayed throughout a dominant period in the amateur ranks will stand her in good stead as a pro too in what he sees as a natural progression for his former charge.

He said: “I think Katie has been one of the best athletes that I’ve ever had the privilege of working with and her dedication, her talent and her determination will make her successful at whatever she decides to take on.”

Lightweight Taylor, 30, lost to Finland's Mira Potkonen in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016.

It was her third defeat of the year, effectively putting the writing on the wall for her decade of dominance in the amateur game.