LONDON, UK -- Katie Taylor improved her record to 3-0 without much problem from Monica Gentili in a devastating fifth round victory Saturday.
The Irishwoman, who turned professional in November following an outstanding amateur career, secured her second stoppage win in the paid ranks in style on the undercard of the heavyweight bout between Britons David Haye and Tony Bellew at the O2 in London.
Lightweight Taylor was too slick and quick for her Italian opponent, who she finally floored in the fifth following a barrage of big punches.
Taylor was happy to force the stoppage and her promoter Eddie Hearn is targeting a world title shot by the end of the year.
"It was great to get the stoppage victory in the end," said Taylor. "Boxing those type of opponents, you can definitely express yourself a bit more.
"I felt a lot stronger, sharper. It's been a really busy year for me and I'm just glad to be getting the experience. I hope to be boxing for a world title sometime this year."
U.S.-based Taylor, 30, took control early on in the scheduled six-round bout and her golden gloves regularly found the heavily-tattooed Gentili in the opening two rounds.
But Taylor was not in a rush and went about her work at a steady pace before increasing the pressure in the third.
Gentili, 39, had lost six and won six before facing Taylor and was a replacement opponent after Milena Koleva pulled out sick last week. She could offer little in response by the fourth round as Taylor's relentless attack began to take its toll.
Taylor broke Gentili's resistance with a right hook amid a ferocious combination in the fifth round and when the Italian got up the contest was waved off. It was another step closer to a title shot as she tries to emulate her amateur success in the pro ranks.
As well as her Olympic success, Taylor also won five world titles and six European titles in a 13-year amateur career.
Taylor, who is from Bray in Ireland but trains in Connecticut with coach Ross Enamait, is due to fight again on the undercard of the world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans on April 29. A fight in Dublin is also part of the plans this year.
Taylor, one of the most well-known sports stars in Ireland, is one of three high women boxers who have won Olympic gold medals to enter the paid ranks since the Rio Olympics last summer. American Claressa Shields also turned professional last year while Briton Nicola Adams has her paid fight on April 8.