He won the hearts and minds of the public as he became Mr Gibraltar last November in a Phantom of the Opera-style contest.

Now Antonin Irodia, 28, will represent Gibraltar at this year’s Mister Universe competition in the Dominican Republic.

However, Antonin, who works at Bet Victor, is still searching for a sponsor that will allow him to challenge the world’s best.

Antonin told the Gibraltar Olive Press that while he hopes the government will help cover some of his costs he will need further support to pay the fee of the competition and for his flights.

While Antonin anticipated a tough contest, he was optimistic he would be able to successfully raise the profile of Gibraltar internationally at the very least.

“Most of the guys that go there that is what they do full time.

“They don’t do other jobs, they can dedicate themselves entirely to their gym and diet.

“That isn’t the case for me as I do also have a full-time job but there is always in the back of my mind that I could win.

“Even a nomination in one of the categories would be fantastic, like elegance or top model!

”What I am totally excited about is the experience, being able to put Gibraltar on the map and make us known.”

Mr Universe will take place in the Punta Cana resort, famed for its 32km of spectacular beaches, during this Summer.

Last year’s winner was Kevin Montes from Puerto Rico.

The contest judges ‘beauty, elegance, personality, bearing and security’ with the winner declared the ‘most beautiful model man in the universe’.