- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The maturation process of heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder -- a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and the United States' lone boxing medalist in Beijing -- continues at a slow and steady pace.
Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has been a pro since November 2008 and seems to have all the physical tools you could ask for from a heavyweight prospect: youth (he's still only 26), a 6-foot-7 frame and tremendous punching power, especially with his right hand.
So far, Wilder, who weighs 217 pounds and could still use a bit more bulk, has rolled to a perfect record -- 23-0 with 23 knockouts. None of his opponents have gotten out of the fourth round against him. Wilder is still a project and has yet to face any serious opposition, but he and his team seem to be getting anxious to step up.
On Aug. 4, Wilder was scheduled to face Kelvin Price (13-0, 6 KOs), who appeared to be a decent step up in competition, even though Price is 37 and only has 13 fights. In 2010, Price handed prospect Tor Hamer his only loss.
But Price recently withdrew from the fight with Wilder, citing a rib injury, and on Tuesday was replaced by Kertson Manswell (22-5, 17 KOs). Wilder will meet Manswell Aug. 4 (FSN/Fox Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) at the Mobile Civic Center Arena Expo Hall in Mobile, Ala.
Manswell, 35, of Trinidad and Tobago, is at least experienced against good opposition, despite currently being in a 2-5 rut. He suffered his first loss in January 2011 when Bermane Stiverne blasted him out in two rounds on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Devon Alexander undercard, and it has been mostly downhill from there. He has two first-round knockout wins against sub-.500 opponents and losses to prospect Mike Perez, former title challenger Cedric Boswell, former titleholder Ruslan Chagaev and, most recently, unbeaten Alexander Ustinov.
Manswell may not represent a great step up for Wilder, but at least he has faced some name opponents so that we can compare Wilder's performance against him to that of the other contenders Manswell has faced.