Promoter Eddie Hearn is backing Katie Taylor to come through the "crunch time" in her professional career as the Bray boxer aims to win the WBA lightweight title in Cardiff on Saturday.

Just 11 months after her first professional fight, Taylor will challenge Anahi Sanchez for the belt on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight fight against Carlos Takam.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport this morning, Hearn admits his fighter is nervous but ready to rise to the occasion.

"It’s crunch time really," he said. "She has had a wonderful start to her career. Now she is going into the deep end in a real fight against a two-weight world champion in Anahi Sanchez.

"I think the team are a little bit on edge arriving in Cardiff but Katie has been under pressure before and she has come through the other side and I expect her to become world champion on Saturday.

"She is talking about this as the biggest moment of her career so far. I think she is someone that lives in the present. The Olympic gold medal was a huge occasion for her. But I think now she sees herself as a professional fighter and this is important to her.

"To win a world championship as a pro would be extremely important in terms of her targets so this is a crunch fight for Katie Taylor. She is expected to win.

"I’ve spoke to Anahi Sanchez’s camp and they are very confident. They see her as very inexperienced in the pro game and they certainly are here to win."

Hearn admitted it was taking a step into something of the unknown when signing Taylor as his first professional female boxer, but has been pleased by the response of the viewing public.

He said: "I think what has surprised me really is everyone’s willingness to digest the content that is women’s boxing. I said at the start when we signed Katie that I don’t see it necessarily as women’s boxing.

"I see it as boxing as a product and as a fight and if it’s good to watch then that’s great. It’s more than good to watch.

"Katie Taylor has lit up arenas all around England and in New York and she’ll do so in front of 75,000 on Saturday in the Principality Stadium.

"It’s a wonderful opportunity for her and we’re right on track. I expect her to win on Saturday and go on to unify the division."

One issue facing Taylor has been how relatively untroubled she has been in six professional outings so far.

But he believes this fight is the beginning of a different calibre of opponent.

"The jump from her previous opponent to Saturday night is huge. That is the problem. There is not that middle ground of talent.

"You’re either an elite world champion or a fighter that boxes on the circuit and sort of prepares to come through. Natasha Jonas has turned pro and she is now 3-0.

"There is a girl in America signed with Top Rank from the Olympics. She is at lightweight. I think that Katie Taylor is going to unify divisions, move up in weight and continue to test herself.  

"But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. She must win on Saturday to become world champion.

"Katie is a meticulous pro. Her preparation is always good. This time she has had a longer camp because it is 10 rounds. For the first time she may have to go 10 rounds in a contest.

"Sometimes if she is boxing six or eight rounds the camp will be a bit shorter but this time she has had a good break from her New York fight.

"She has had a great camp and she’s very nervous but she is well-prepared and ready to go."