Andy Lee: In the right condition, Katie Taylor can compete for world titles right now

He was speaking on tonight's Off The Ball

Katie Taylor

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

Former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee reckons that - in the right condition - Katie Taylor could compete for a world title right now.

After turning professional following the Olympic Games in Rio, Taylor blasted her way to victory in her first professional fight with a third round stoppage of Poland's Karina Kopinska.

Speaking on tonight's Off The Ball, Lee said that the the Bray native has the skill to beat the very best, but only if she can get in the condition to go 10 rounds.

"Interestingly enough, I was checking out the world number one in Katie's weight, Delfine Persoon," he said. "I watched a couple of her fights and looked at her record. I don't think there's anything there would scare Katie.

"I think if Katie can get herself in the condition to go 10 rounds, she has a very good chance of beating her right now."

He explained why he thought she was still fighting in her amateur style this evening and what changes she needs to make to help her adjust to the professional ranks.

"The highest level of amateurs would be skillfully, technically, more advanced than most pros, I would say in terms of what they do, like feinting. But there's a different technique when it comes to professional boxing. How you throw your punches, how you move your hips when you throw your punches. 

"I think in the amateurs, Katie Taylor wasn't afraid to take a punch. You could see that in all her fights, she was happy to engage. In pro boxing, where you wear small gloves over long distances, you can't afford to do that. That's the only thing I think she needs to tighten up on, her defence. 

Katie Taylor looked comfortable throughout her professional boxing debut in November. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

"In amateur boxing where it's all very quick and the punches are more like stabs, in professional boxing you're punching through. It's like hammer blows. That's all she has to add and I think she will in time."

He added: "I think this is what she deserves, after all these years. She's an ambassador for Ireland. [The promotion] is the kind of platform she needs.

"If she was in the condition to fight 10 rounds, she could probably beat Persoon tomorrow, but it's about getting people behind her... That's what Matchroom are so good at. And who knows one day she could headline her own event.

"The one thing with Katie is, she's not a hype job. She can really do it. She deserves this and it's great to see her get this recognition."