A boxing elimination tournament fought in a relatively small arena with a ring-side crowd should be compelling viewing but the opening episode of Total Combat (BT Sport) was decidedly and disappointingly flat.
Obviously in a traditional boxing match the tension mounts with each passing round, but while the format of different pairings competing in one-off six-minute bouts offered plenty of variety, it also robbed the show of any momentum.
Time after time the contenders had only just got warmed up when the countdown ran out, and things weren’t helped by the unconfident looking presenters who seemed like they had little idea what was going on.
Plus, the whole thing was so, so quiet – the crowds rarely seemed whipped up or engaged in the fights in front of them.
The memory may be cheating but my recollection is there was more tension and excitement to be found in an average episode of LWT’s Gladiators.
And yet, while there’s plenty of room for improvement, the show has a lot of potential if BT and makers BoxNation are willing to finesse the format.
Better use of background music, more overt direction and a much bigger sense of theatrics could make this a must-watch.