Former Brighton and Hove amateur Christian Crowley will make his professional debut next month - in America.

Crowley, 25, is chasing the dream of making it as professional fighter but in the States where he has struck up an extraordinary relationship with respected trainer Hector Lopez of the TKO Boxing Club in Santa Ana, California.

The link up first began in 2014 when Crowley was an amateur boxer at the Brighton and Hove Pro-Am Gym, Hove, where Chris Eubank Jr trains.

And five years down the line he will step into the ring on April 19 in Ontario, Southern California trying to follow in the footsteps of TKO fighters including world super-bantamweight title contender Ronny Rios, who he now trains alongside.

Crowley told The Argus: "I met Hector in 2014 when visiting a friend of mine in California.

"My second amateur season had just finished and I was keen to try some of the local gyms in the area as you hear a lot about the tough Mexican fighters in America.

"I quite brazenly asked Hector at that point if I could spar one of his fighters to which he bluntly responded 'no'.

"I insisted he let me spar but he kept telling me he didn’t want me to get hurt.

"After being persistent, he let me do two rounds with Ronny Rios. He told me after the spar he liked my style and that I had surprised him."

Lopez stayed in contact and two years later Crowley went back to the gym and did some more sessions.

Crowley said: "Last summer I made the decision to turn professional and asked if I could come and do a three-month camp with him to get as much experience as possible, which he welcomed.

"When I was over there we were going to different gyms for sparring. After one visit to Robert Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, California, he asked if I’d like to turn professional with TKO and I jumped at the opportunity.

"I sold everything I own, worked two jobs to save money and got the necessary paperwork to be able to legally work and earn money in the States."

Crowley has no regrets about throwing everything he has behind his American dream but revealed he did not have to look far for inspiration.

He said: "When my mother was 18 she left Ireland to work in the NHS and has been in England ever since. I take inspiration from that.

"It’s a massive wrench but it’s the best move for me.

"I’m in a gym with young, hungry fighters pushing for title fights signed to the best promoters in the world.

"I am learning and am being pushed every day to be a better boxer.

"Before I left I was working in a pub kitchen two days a week where my friend was head chef.

"I was also working at the Underground Gym in Newhaven, who have been very supportive in my journey."

Having made such a massive decision, it is no surprise Crowley has big ambitions.

The Albion fan added: "I’m a competitive person by nature and I want to be the best I can be.

"I want titles but most of all I want big fights. I want to be in big fights people want to see.

"I have dreams of fighting at the Amex one day! I’ve visualised it 100 times over!"

He tries to keep tabs on the Seagulls on the West Coast - and has even got trainer Lopez wearing the Albion shirt - but intends to enjoy a transatlantic life style.

He said: "My family are still in Newhaven and they are very supportive. I will fly back and forth between camps for fights.

"TKO are a big family and when I’m here I have a room in an apartment at the friend of the club director. I’m very well looked after here which makes it more comfortable for me."